LETTER: Prop B opponents don't condone mistreatment of animals

Friday, October 29, 2010 | 9:55 a.m. CDT

As Boone County livestock producers, we were offended by Rose Nolen's suggestion that our opposition to Proposition B means we have lower standards of animal care. What an absurd accusation.

The animals on our farm are fed daily or have constant access to feed and water. We offer preventative care for our animals to help avoid illness and treat any animals for unavoidable sickness when necessary. There is no greater steward of the land and livestock than a farmer/rancher. To insinuate otherwise is insulting.

We oppose Proposition B for a variety of reasons, but know first of all that we do not condone the harmful treatment of any animals. Proposition B will not stop unlicensed breeders from breaking the rules. Missouri already has pages of laws in place to protect animals. It's the enforcement of those laws that will help shut down the rule breakers.

Ms. Nolen is invited to our farm anytime to see how we run our operation. Many people still have this misconception that farmers are bib-overall-wearing folks who don't know how the world works. That couldn't be farther from the truth. We are both MU graduates who hold professional jobs in Columbia. What we love, though, is animal agriculture and we work hard every day to provide safe, nutritious food for the American dinner plate. Don't insult our integrity by saying we don't take good care of our animals.

Chuck and Christi Miller live in Boone County.

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Jessica Bryand October 29, 2010 | 12:14 p.m.

Thank you Chuck and Christi Miller! Missouri people love their animals! And so much so that we know this Proposition will in NO WAY benifit or protect them!!!

(Report Comment)
Shelley Powers October 29, 2010 | 3:10 p.m.

Sorry, but licensed breeders have violated both USDA and Missouri Department of Agricultural rules for years.

Example from your licensed, legal breeders:

"A female Yorkie had an embedded collar around the neck. The areas of the embedded collar are red, swollen, and open in some areas."

"a dead black and white calf was between kennel buildings..."

"The owners have placed adult 4 bull mastiffs in a 4ft x 4ft aluminum dog crate. The crate was divided in half, making the space 2ft by 4ft for 2 mastiffs. The cage height was app 24 inches. The dogs could not turn about normally while standing, to stand and sit erect, and to lie in a natural position."

I could go on, I will if you wish. And these aren't even among the HSUS Dirty Dozen breeders.

Do please, don't insult our intelligence by pretending this problem is only related to unlicensed facilities.

(Report Comment)
Jessica Bryand October 29, 2010 | 5:50 p.m.

Shelley so did the inspectors write violations on these above claims you posted? And as for the calf, when you live on a farm things happen to animals that are not a result of human actions. You did not state how long the calf had been there nor how it passed, or if the kennel buildings were on grazing pasture where it would have been possible for a little one to get to. So if you are going to state facts, please state all of the facts.

(Report Comment)
Michelle Cascio October 30, 2010 | 9:28 a.m.

Many Missouri facilities have lost their federal licenses for improper care of dogs, but continue to operate under state licenses. Dogs are crammed into small and filthy cages, denied veterinary care, exposed to extremes of heat and cold, and not given exercise or human affection. Prop B will set clear and understandable dog welfare standards across the board. Responsible breeders who are providing adequate shelter, food, water, and veterinary care will feel no effects from the passage of Prop B, nor will small-scale hobby breeders be affected.

Prop B does not change any of the existing enforcement structure. Prop B does not change the fact that Missouri Department of Agriculture can impose administrative penalties for any violation of its regulations but cannot initiate criminal prosecutions itself (though it may refer violations to local law enforcement for prosecution). Moreover, local law enforcement is already permitted to bring prosecutions for violations of criminal Animal Care Facilities Act statutes which provide for criminal penalties. Prop B does, however, increase the likelihood that local law enforcement will actually act without waiting for the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s blessing, for it provides new, clear cut criminal prohibitions, like the limit on total breeding dogs, the cage size requirements, and the requirement that there be constant access to outdoor space, that a local officer can readily identify without the need to consult an expert. Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop B is not against stronger enforcement of existing law. Both strong enforcement and the provisions of Prop B will, in combination, have the biggest impact on the lives of dogs in Missouri’s puppy mills. The two are not mutually exclusive.

(Report Comment)
Shelley Powers October 30, 2010 | 10:24 a.m.

Jessica Brand, you can look up the details yourself, I provided the unique identifier for each breeder, in addition to the complaints.

For these specific instances, the kennel identifiers are 26045, 26784, 4518, 4687, and 4454. The APHIS database can be accessed at Enter the kennel number into the field labeled "customer #".

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock October 30, 2010 | 7:14 p.m.

So shelly they broke the law and did the government do anything? If they didn't seems to me you should have take it up with the feds. All these people that you mentioned already broke the current law so do you really think a new law is going to stop them? I mean that would be like passing a law against murder. Do you think people will stop killing each other? You and others are living in la la land if you think criminals will change their ways. You know they won't but you don't care you make money off of the tapes that get recorded through added donations. But you and your ilk do know that by shutting down legit breeders it furthers your agenda of limiting domestic animal ownership.

(Report Comment)
Jessica Bryand October 30, 2010 | 7:35 p.m.

Allen, great post!! Totally agree.

(Report Comment)
Shelley Powers October 30, 2010 | 8:19 p.m.

They violated regulations, they didn't break the law.

I don't have a lot more to say on this topic. We'll vote in a few days, and I hope with all my heart that Proposition B wins. I wrote a post and since I had spent so much time here in the Missourian discussing Proposition B, I decided most of the post would be links here.

I appreciate the Columbia Missourian allowing this publication to be so taken over by this important topic.

(Report Comment)
Jessica Bryand October 30, 2010 | 9:38 p.m.

Oh Shelley I am sure HSUS will have another great low blow to the pet industry before Tuesday, so be sure to come back! Even if we do not agree on any part of this topic, you seem to be one accomplished lady and I am glad I got the chance to argue with you!

(Report Comment)

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