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LETTER: Show both sides of the Prop B debate

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | 5:09 p.m. CDT

Could you please give the same coverage to both sides of an issue?  I am thinking of the article on the front page of the Oct. 8-9, 2010, issue, but as in many articles written by the news people, the protesters get more coverage than the main story. 

Concerning Prob B, you published a picture of the protesters and it seems to me that there should have been a picture of little dogs in cages, stacked one on the other.  The purpose of Prop B is to lessen the suffering of innocent dogs.  How could anyone be against that?

Laura Wells lives in Columbia.

 

 


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Comments

Allan Sharrock October 12, 2010 | 8:41 p.m.

Laura Prop B will not prevent one more puppy mill from being in operation. They are already breaking the law so passing a law won't really prevent a crime will it?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 12, 2010 | 9:29 p.m.

("...the protesters get more coverage than the main story.")

If anything, coverage seems to be more balanced than I expected. And, photos of dogs in distress would be like showing the dead bodies being shoveled up at Ground Zero.
Pictures in the Missourian have included the CEO of HSUS speaking at Cafe Berlin and another shows a man concerned about his livelihood. Reasonable photos, in good taste, as far as I'm concerned.
I am told that if you want to view horrific photos, watch Oprah videos on YouTube. HSUS and Oprah have no shame in hitting people up emotionally for money and support.
As for me, I'd rather research the truth about HSUS and the devastating impact this proposition would have on Missouri's economy, as well as the killing of dogs, the dumping of dogs into the shelter system and into the wild.
There's not even an option for breeders to merge and consolidate their businesses, to maximize their resources to meet the vague mandates in the proposition.
Even Columbia's CMHS has a board which conveyed support of the "humane" aspect of the proposition but hesitate giving it approval. It's disappointing, however, that their concern is limited to only their financial ability to handle the influx of dogs for adoption and putting the animals "to sleep."
Memo to CMHS: This time get all the money from HSUS you might need if this horrible proposition passes, come out against Proposition B whether HSUS gives you the money or not and become a No-Kill Shelter and get out of the "killing of healthy animals" business.
Let Columbia get its own City Pound and spare yourself the guilt.

(Report Comment)
Rayette Smith October 13, 2010 | 6:10 a.m.

It is true. We do need to see pictures of the puppyies in cages . "Consumers across the country have reported purchasing Missouri puppy mill puppies with significant health and/or genetic conditions, causing high veterinary bills and emotional devastation for the families involved. A recent report from the Better Business Bureau chapters of Kansas City, Springfield, and St. Louis outlined the problems consumers face when they purchase dogs from Missouri’s large-scale breeders. Reports from the USDA Inspector General and the Missouri state auditor indicate puppy mills have a longstanding history of cruel treatment that often goes unaddressed.

(Report Comment)
Rayette Smith October 13, 2010 | 6:11 a.m.

Once used up, the breeding dogs in puppy mills are often cruelly killed, abandoned, or sold at auction. After being bred again and again, sometimes until their uteruses literally “prolapse” or protrude from their bodies, used up breeding dogs are often quickly discarded or killed when they can no longer turn a profit for their owners. Puppy mill owners often kill these dogs themselves to save on veterinary bills. Currently there is no specific law in Missouri that prevents puppy mill operators from destroying “used up” dogs themselves. Prop B would prevent the euthanasia of unwanted dogs by anyone other than a licensed veterinarian

(Report Comment)
Rayette Smith October 13, 2010 | 6:12 a.m.

More and more states are passing laws to crack down on puppy mill cruelty. In the last three years, fifteen states - including major puppy mill states such as Iowa, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania-- have passed laws to crack down on puppy mills by requiring basic care standards at mass-breeding facilities and/or limiting the number of breeding dogs that can be kept at a single facility. Most states have handled these policy reforms through their state legislatures, but Missouri lawmakers are beholden to the special interest puppy mill lobby and have failed to respond to public opinion and citizen demands for better care for companion animals. Prop B is similar to the laws that have been passed in other states, and gives Missouri citizens the opportunity to do what the legislature has not

(Report Comment)
Rayette Smith October 13, 2010 | 6:12 a.m.

Opponents of this measure are supported and funded by some of the worst puppy mills in Missouri. Several large-scale puppy mills that have been cited for failing to properly care for their dogs or have even been compelled to surrender their USDA breeding licenses continue to be licensed by the state and operate in the state of Missouri. Some of Missouri’s largest puppy mill operators are Prop B’s most vociferous critics. For example, Lois Stevens, who has been a highly vocal opponent of the measure, was forced to surrender her USDA license and agreed not to apply for a new license for ten years in 1998 due to repeated, severe violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including filthy conditions and lack of basic care for her breeding dogs— yet as of 2009 she maintained her Missouri state breeding license. Recent research indicates that she continues to breed and sell dogs online and directly to the public to this day under various kennel names, including “Bone Fam” bulldogs and “Lazy S Aussies.” And in 1986, Jim and Mary Foster (doing business as Oak Leaf Kennels) were found by the USDA to be “dealers engaged in business without a license” and were cited for improper storage of food, improper sanitation of facilities and overcrowding. In a consent decision they were ordered to cease and desist from these violations and were assessed a civil penalty. Shockingly, Mary Foster remains state licensed to this day; in fact she co-owns one of the largest puppy mills in Missouri, Country Pets. She is also a financial supporter of MoFed PAC, an animal use group which lobbies against the most basic animal protection measures and is the principal opponent of Prop B.

(Report Comment)
Rayette Smith October 13, 2010 | 6:13 a.m.

Current Missouri laws have not been effective in stopping puppy mill cruelty, Ray Shapiro. In September 2009, more than 100 neglected dogs were removed from the property of Tim King, Jr.’s Doo Little Kennel in Phelps County. The dogs were found in deplorable conditions, yet until recently King was licensed and regularly inspected by both the USDA and the MO Department of Agriculture, both of which cited him for repeated violations of basic humane and sanitation standards year after year. The King case is but one example of the types of abject animal suffering and neglect that current laws allowed to exist unchecked for years. In contrast to current law, which requires proof of “substantial harm to an animal” before cruelty charges can be filed, Prop B improves enforcement opportunities by creating a misdemeanor charge of “puppy mill cruelty” which may be filed for any violation of basic care standards outlined in the proposed law.

(Report Comment)
Rayette Smith October 13, 2010 | 6:13 a.m.

Prop B will not affect small hobby breeders or sportsmen. Small breeders who have ten or fewer female breeding dogs will not be affected by the measure, nor will sportsmen who keep kennels of dogs for purposes other than breeding them and selling the puppies as family pets. Truly reputable breeders who have more than ten females already provide care that exceeds the proposed standards so they will not be adversely affected.

Prop B has broad and mainstream support. Prop B is supported by more than 100 Missouri veterinarians and veterinary clinics; more than 100 animal welfare charities and organizations, including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, Central Missouri Humane Society, Humane Society of Southwest Missouri, Wayside Waifs, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS); prominent Missouri citizens such as Tony LaRussa and Linda Bond; as well as responsible dog breeders, religious leaders, and Missouri businesses. Polling shows that 89% of MO voters support the protections outlined in Prop B.

(Report Comment)
Rayette Smith October 13, 2010 | 6:14 a.m.

The puppy mill industry in Missouri is an evil, vile industry that promotes the suffering of dogs and puppies. Vote yes on prop B

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 13, 2010 | 8:01 a.m.

"How could anyone be against that?"

No one is against that. What we're against is an ineffective way of handling the problem, that will have significant unintended consequencces and drive more breeding underground, out of the sight of the inspectors.

Rayette Smith wrote:

"Truly reputable breeders who have more than ten females already provide care that exceeds the proposed standards so they will not be adversely affected."

An unsupported, blanket statement that's as inaccurate as saying all breeders with more than 50 dogs provide substandard care. Statements like this are why I can't support prop B.

"Current Missouri laws have not been effective in stopping puppy mill cruelty,"

This one won't either. Citing an owner for a misdemeanor does not mean they have to shut down, just like present law. In some cases, fines may become simply another cost of doing business. And the worst kind of cruelty will proliferate - that at unlicensed, uninspected kennels where there is no guarantee of care at all.

If you want to regulate pet store sales, or socialization/human contact, or even the breeding of animals for profit, then do that. Prop B doesn't do any of this, even though supporter after supporter claims it will. Come back with a bill that says what you want, and let people vote on that.

DK

(Report Comment)
Shelley Powers October 13, 2010 | 8:49 a.m.

DK, one thing the bill does provide is an upper limit to the number of adult, intact dogs a breeder has. None of the current laws provide this, and this one change will serve to shut down puppy mills.

For those commercial breeders that remain, rather than provide exercise "plans", they have to provide access to outdoor runs, with solid floors. They have to ensure water is available and clean, and that food is provided as needed, and wholesome.

That chihuahua that is crammed into a kennel that falls below the USDA minimum 6 inches, to live our her life whelping litter after litter of puppies, can actually be in a kennel where she can move about freely.

If the breeders do not provide all of this, rather than a tepid write up in an inspection report, which has absolutely no impact on them, they are in violation of the law: a class C misdemeanor for first offense, class A for subsequent offenses. This is going to be a very powerful motivator for those people who do only the minimum they can to care for their dogs.

I am in the midst of reading 1021 USDA inspection reports for commercial dog breeders in Missouri. I can say with absolute surety that the breeders of this state deserve this bill.

(Yes, the chihuahua story is from one of the reports--a currently licensed breeder)

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 13, 2010 | 11:13 a.m.

("Access to Missouri dog kennel inspections only available via Sunshine Laws. Have asked for quote, but know will be more than can afford
8:43 AM Oct 12th via web
.shelleypowers
Shelley Powers")
http://twitter.com/shelleypowers/status/...
Did LaRussa spot you the cash?
Or did this guy?
http://twitter.com/shelleypowers/status/...

(Report Comment)
Harold Samson II October 13, 2010 | 11:14 a.m.

Thank you, Shelly Powers for telling the truth about the puppy mill industry. The current laws are not taking care of the problem. If they did, why do we have 190,000 Missourians that signed the petition saying we need another law to help the problem?

(Report Comment)
Harold Samson II October 13, 2010 | 11:16 a.m.

Ray Shapiro is wrong. absolutely wrong. He doesn't get it. Puppy mills are concentration camps for puppies. Ray Shapiro is the man who said that hate is not a bad thing on a comment post on here. Can a man that says that be trusted? If he thinks hate is ok, I am sure he is fine with puppies suffering

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 13, 2010 | 11:50 a.m.

@Samson:
Here's what I posted:
Ray Shapiro October 12, 2010 | 12:35 a.m.
Is Hate a Bad Thing?
http://www.ptsalt.com/commentary/is_hate...
What kind of smack are you posting?
Your research, reading and comprehension skills seem to be faulty.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz October 13, 2010 | 12:26 p.m.

Harold, what was the pitch being made to those 190,000 signers? Was it skewed in the even the teeniest, tiniest manner? Do you think even a handful of those signers were aware of the existing regulations on Missouri's books?

I've circulated petitions for other issues in the past, and I can guaran-darn-tee you that there are a heck of a lot of uninformed and apathetic voters in the general population. You can look at the results of just about any election and determine that.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 13, 2010 | 6:48 p.m.

Shelley Powers wrote:

"an upper limit to the number of adult, intact dogs a breeder has. ..... and this one change will serve to shut down puppy mills."

It'll shut down a lot more than that. Purebred breeding, particularly if done well, is quite expensive, and breeders typically don't make much money at it. Hardly any will be able to make a living with this few dogs, so they'll either have to work elsewhere (taking time away from their animal care), raise prices (and sell fewer dogs because of that) , cut corners (risking criminal penalties) , or most likely, just shut down.

All that could be left are hobby and show breeders, who are exempt from these provisions, and the unlicensed breeders. There will simply be no licensed commercial breeders after this, "puppy mills" or no. (BTW, this means more dogs will be bred outside of USDA and MDA control).

You may not care about that, or maybe you actively wish that to happen. But it's a dishonest way of achieving that effect. If you want to make professional, full-time breeding illegal, then say that.

Many of our dogs will then come from out-of-state, from kennels that may or may not meet our standards. This will also make it more difficult for a prospective owner to visit a kennel and pick out a dog himself - more of it will be done from pet stores and the Internet. Yet another unintended consequence.

"they have to provide access to outdoor runs, with solid floors. They have to ensure water is available and clean, and that food is provided as needed, and wholesome."

Indoor-outdoor kennels have emotional appeal, but they are not necessarily the best choice for whelping females. At least, the "unfettered" part should be left out - breeders should use their judgment as to when it is safe for their animals to go out.

Current laws specify clean water and wholesome food. It is intentionally misleading for prop B to imply that they don't.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 13, 2010 | 6:50 p.m.

Cont'd from above:

From the AVMA "MODEL BILL AND REGULATIONS TO ASSURE APPROPRIATE
CARE FOR DOGS INTENDED FOR USE AS PETS"
http://www.avma.org/advocacy/state/issue...
"Simply providing excess cage space beyond the minimums cited does not necessarily benefit the welfare of dogs."
I've been saying this all along. Dogs are happier if they can interact with people or other dogs on a regular basis - absolute space is less of a concern. This model bill specifies that. Prop B does not.
If the dog's environment is not exciting for the dog, she won't do much but lie around no matter how large the run is.
"A dog’s welfare needs for comfortable housing are better met by a kennel with solid flooring.9 However, the use of wire flooring can assist in maintaining a clean environment. Thus, housing designs that make use of both flooring types together are acceptable"
So specify this in prop B (perhaps add solid flooring to part of their cages?), instead of forcing breeders out of business by making them totally remodel their kennels.
"a dog benefits from having the option to withdraw from its environment to
rest.9,10 A den can be provided for dogs in numerous ways, from built-in platforms to simple bedding."
Nothing in prop B says anything about this.
"In terms of spatial needs, a dog should have the opportunity for various physical movements, such as achieving a running stride.23 Providing additional space beyond the stated minimums is desirable, but not necessary to support suitable locomotory activity.24 In fact, having interaction with other dogs, people, or an enriched environment may more effectively ensure healthy physical activity."
Nothing in prop B says anything about this.
Shelley, you should read this model bill. This is what we should be voting on. It has many more protections and recommendations for the animals, and it does not unfairly limit the number of dogs that an otherwise ideal breeder could breed. It would give the supporters of prop B, in no uncertain terms, what they want. Prop B does not.
---------------------
Shelley Powers wrote:
"That chihuahua that is crammed into a kennel that falls below the USDA minimum 6 inches, to live our her life whelping litter after litter of puppies, can actually be in a kennel where she can move about freely."

If there is an enforcement problem, then fix that. Don't burden that effort with limits and standards that could effectively end professional breeding in the state.

Cont'd...

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 13, 2010 | 6:52 p.m.

Cont'd from above:

You also need to read the inspection reports objectively, and make the effort to read the follow-ups. to see how well the breeders has addressed the problems. It's far too easy to take a heart-wrenching example (as you've done with the chihuahua) and portray it as somehow typical of all breeders. Saying "the breeders of this state deserve this bill" implies an emotional involvement that will make any objectivity more difficult.

However, the fact that you're posting here in favor of this doesn't speak to your objectivity, unfortunately.

I've never been in favor of any animal suffering. This bill is not the way to address that, however. We can address enforcement and punishment issues without shutting down most of Missouri's dog breeding industry.

DK

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane October 15, 2010 | 10:31 a.m.

I'm with you, Laura!

I would wager to say that all or most of the posters toughting no on B have an economic interest in this issue & could care less about the qualtiy of the dogs life. I see there names repeatedly on these boards. Looks like they are trying to save there own skins.

On the other hand...supporters of Prop B have nothing to gain financially. They are soley interested in the welfare of the breeding dogs.

The "So called Alliance for Truth" is full of it & should really be called "Alliance for LIARS!" Want some REAL Facts about animal welfare in Missouri? Visit www.MAAL.org
(The Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation website)

There is a reason why Missouri has 3 times more commercial breeders than any other state in the union. Our laws are the weakest & we are the CESS POOL OF THE WORST BREEDERS in the United States. The Opposition to Prop B is just trying to scare you. Prop B won't take away your cattle, chicken horses, pets, etc. It only adds & clears up regulations already on the books. This regulation is IN ADDITION TO and does not replace the current laws. It makes the current laws easier to enforce & adds penalties besides just fines to offenders.

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 15, 2010 | 11:19 a.m.

("Marina Shane posted:
I would wager to say that all or most of the posters toughting no on B have an economic interest in this issue & could care less about the qualtiy of the dogs life. I see there names repeatedly on these boards. Looks like they are trying to save there own skins.")

I would wager to say that all or most of the first-time MISSOURIAN posters such as MARINA SHANE who TOUT yes on B, don't care enough about cash flow for Missouri's economy which comes from decent, hardworking licensed dog, animal, livestock and agricultural industries because they blindly follow their leader Wayne Pacelle of the HSUS.
I additionally challange any reader of the Missourian to review the comments of regular Missourian posters to determine if there are any puppymill breeders or individuals who have ill-gotten gain from the dog breeding industry to warrant their positions are against Proposition B because they are out to "save their skins."
Then take a look at the hard facts, and not the emotionally horrific stories and
pictures of dogs in distress, and decide to Vote No on Proposition B because that is the most righteous thing to do.We need better enforcement of the 23 pages of laws already on the books if we want to protect dogs AND the industry. This Proposition B will do more damage than good.
I TOUT:
Vote No on Proposition B.
Vote No on Proposition B.
Vote No on Proposition B.

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane October 15, 2010 | 3:32 p.m.

Hey.... RAY! Just cause you have posted alot around here...doesn't mean you are right about anything! AND I'll have you know I own a business in Missouri so yes I do care about Missouri's economy. But I run an ETHICAL business...I could CARE LESS if puppy mills shut down! I don't want that kind of money & if you are so desperate for money that your willing to torture dogs for it.... then there is a special place in the afterlife waiting for you where it is REALLY HOT & NASTY!
.
.
MISSOURIANS.... WE LIVE IN THE SHOW ME STATE.... HOW ABOUT SHOWING SOME COMPASSION!
.
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 15, 2010 | 8:38 p.m.

Hey Marina Shane:
You're not the only one who runs an ethical business.
Read this and get back to me, if you're a real person...
http://saova.org/MissouriBallot.html

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane October 16, 2010 | 2:55 p.m.

Ray.... I will give you a blow by blow of what I think about your link tommorrow. I'm at work right now & can't type that much that fast! But i have a rebuttal for each & every point. Actually, I might post it online on as a static page so i can send a link for it!
_____________________________
.
The opposition here to Prop B is just spouting off a bunch of SCARE TACTICS from people with vested money interests in skimping as much as possible to make a buck.
.
Prop B calls for the following:
.
Shall Missouri law be amended to:
•require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles;

•prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets; and

•create a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations?
_____________________________

GOOD breeders shouldn't have any issue with Prop B. It's just the ones that don't want to treat their dogs well & skimp on them that do. I'm sorry, but as a breeder if you can't do these simple things, then IMO You are a puppy miller! And i could Care Less what you think!

MISSOURIANS.... WE LIVE IN THE SHOW ME STATE....
HOW ABOUT SHOWING SOME COMPASSION!
.
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
.
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane October 17, 2010 | 2:21 p.m.

HEY.... RAY! You asked for it... here it is!
(I created a BLOG just to post this rebuttal online for you!:)
.
A link for easier reading:
http://marinashanelewis.wordpress.com/i-...

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock October 19, 2010 | 8:39 p.m.

If we allow people to vote to take away how many dogs a person can have then tomorrow we will vote on what kinds of dogs they may have. If you are a pit bull owner I would watch out. Your rights to own what you want may be revoked if these kinds of property rights violations occur.

(Report Comment)
Gloria Young October 21, 2010 | 8:16 a.m.

Allan Sharrock,
Are you totally unfamiliar with BSL, Breed Specific Legislation? Its something that is allready real, and though it is opposed by animal welfare groups its still there. As are laws on how many dogs you can have in specific municipalities.

(Report Comment)

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