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Columbia Missourian

Proposition B TV advertising backed by out-of-state money

By Melanie Loth
October 1, 2010 | 6:50 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA – The campaign supporting Proposition B has bought $1 million of television advertising with campaign donations to date, according to the campaign's manager.

Barbara Schmitz said the commercials will begin airing next week. 

“We are going to be in every media market across the state,” Schmitz said.

The pro-Proposition B campaign, Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, has raised $2.38 million from January through Sept. 27. The campaign dubbed the statute the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act." If passed, it would add regulations to already existing laws about dog breeding in Missouri.  

The campaign might branch out to radio as well, Schmitz said, but the organization was evaluating all options.

The Alliance for Truth and MOFED PAC are the political action committees working against Proposition B. They have not run any television ads, but there are videos on the Alliance for Truth website targeting the Humane Society of the United States. 

Of the $2.38 million that Missourians for the Protection of Dogs has raised, contributions from Missouri residents and groups totaled just more than $73,000 – about 3 percent of the donations.

The Humane Society of the United States has donated more than $1.16 million and is part of the coalition sponsoring Proposition B. Large out-of-state donations from groups sponsoring the bill included $250,000 from Best Friends Animal Society in Utah and $200,000 from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York.

The campaign committee promoting the ballot initiative also received 14 donations that ranged from $5,000 to $25,000 from individuals across the country. Three of these donors were from Missouri. 

“This is a nationwide issue,” Schmitz said. “There are people who understand the depths of the problems in Missouri.”

The Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation and the Humane Society of Missouri are the only Missouri organizations that gave more than $5,000.

The bulk of these donations appeared in the past few weeks. In its July quarterly report, Missourians for the Protection of Dogs reported that it had raised just shy of $64,000.

“We were certified to be on the ballot on Aug. 3,” Schmitz said. “When supporters understand that you are going to be on the ballot then people are more interested.”

The Alliance for Truth established itself seven months after its opposition group. They have accumulated significantly less campaign money: Missouri Ethics Commission campaign finance records show that it has raised $20,000 in contributions.

MOFED PAC has raised over $46,000 during the same period.

A lack of campaign contributions does not deter Barbara York, president of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association, a group that endorses the Alliance for Truth.

"I am not worried about it at all," York said. "99.9 percent of our money has come from Missouri where 97 percent of their money comes from out-of-state."

York said that there were fundraisers for Proposition B in California and New York.

"We're in the fight for Missouri," York said. "I don't think outside entities should have any say whatsoever in how Missouri lives."

Karen Strange, president of the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners, which supports the Alliance for Truth, said that her organization is conducting significant grassroots campaigning. They have not decided how to advertise their campaign.

"I think Missourians really need to take a hard look at the invasion by outside interests into our state with more government regulations on an already regulated industry," Strange said. "It looks to me like out-of-state interests are telling Missourians what to do."