COLUMBIA — Proposition B is an initiative that would add regulations to existing laws regarding licensed dog breeders in Missouri.
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?
It is estimated state governmental entities will incur costs of $654,768 (on-going costs of $521,356 and one-time costs of $133,412). Some local governmental entities may experience costs related to enforcement activities and savings related to reduced animal care activities.
The new rules would require that breeders:
- Give dogs continuous access to water. Existing Missouri law says they must have access to water at least twice a day.
- Have their dogs examined by a veterinarian at least once a year.
- Give dogs constant and unfettered access indoors and outdoors.
- Keep dogs in enclosures tailored to the animals' size. All enclosures would have to be large enough that dogs could turn in a complete circle and stretch their limbs without touching the enclosure or another dog.
- Have dog enclosures that have solid floors and are not stacked. This is designed, in part, to eliminate wire floors.
- Clean dog pens at least once a day.
- Limits their breeding females to no more than two litters in an 18-month period.
All these regulations would pertain only to breeders who have 10 or more breedable females, or females with their sexual organs intact. The initiative also limits breeders to having no more than 50 dogs with intact sexual organs – male or female.
The campaign for Proposition B is called the Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/Yes! On Prop B. Supporting groups include the Humane Society of the United States, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Best Friends Animal Society, the Animal Rescue Foundation and the Humane Society of Missouri.
The campaign working against Proposition B is called the Alliance for Truth. It argues that the Humane Society of the United States has a hidden agenda behind the initiative to end animal ownership in the United States. It also has argued that the new restrictions would put some breeders out of business. The Missouri Federation of Animal Owners, the Missouri Pet Breeders Association, the Missouri Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations endorse the Alliance for Truth.
A fiscal note prepared for the ballot initiative says it would cost the Missouri Department of Agriculture about $500,000 per year to enforce the new provisions.