Agricultural groups weigh options for fighting Proposition B

Monday, November 22, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Groups opposing Proposition B lost their battle in the polls on Election Day. Now they're hoping to counter that loss with a win in the courtroom or the state legislature.

The ballot initiative, which narrowly passed in the polls Nov. 2, adds restrictions to commercial dog breeders. It applies to all facilities that own more than 10 female sexually intact dogs and breed them with the intention of selling their offspring as pets. The new law does not take effect until Nov. 2, 2011.

Agricultural groups such as the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners, the Missouri Pet Breeders Association and the Missourians for Animal Care Coalition are working to keep Proposition B from taking effect at all. These groups have been working with Rep. Mike Parson and Rep. Tom Loehner, who work on the House Agricultural Policy Committee, to determine which course of action is most likely to weaken or eliminate the law.

Loehner said he is considering filing a bill that would "grandfather in" licensed breeders, or exempt breeders who were licensed before the election, from having to meet the new restrictions.

If the new law's opponents choose to fight Proposition B in the Missouri legislature, they must wait until Dec. 1 to prefile any new bills. These prefiled bills would then be introduced Jan. 5, the first day of the General Assembly session, according to the Missouri House of Representatives website. Any proposed bill would need 82 yes votes before moving to the state Senate.

MU law professor Richard Reuben said any attempt to fight Proposition B through the state legislature or court system would be a long shot — and expensive.

Reuben said trying to repeal or weaken the law would mean opposition groups must pay for attorneys, filing costs and possible appeal costs if they choose to appeal in the courts.

"It's not an inexpensive proposition," he said. "You could be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars."

If they go the judicial route, Reuben said groups opposed to Proposition B must find something illegal in the way the law was enacted or find a constitutional provision that would trump the new law.

Reuben said fighting the law through the state Legislature might be more effective, but that it's still not likely to be successful. If agricultural groups go this route, they must try to get both the House and Senate to pass an amendment modifying Proposition B or eliminating it altogether. This amendment must then be signed by the governor before becoming a law.

Reuben said getting this kind of legislation passed wouldn't be easy, especially since Proposition B won with a popular vote.

But Loehner said Proposition B certainly has enough opposition to merit a second look. He pointed out that most of the people who voted in favor of the law live in cities and don't understand what it's like raising animals for profit. He added that 103 out of 114 counties rejected Proposition B.

But Reuben pointed out that fighting Proposition B might not be worth the time and money it would require of opposition groups. "There gets to be a real point where they have to ask themselves if the cost to fight the law is more than the cost of complying," he said.

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Anne Hogan November 22, 2010 | 10:21 a.m.

Rep. Loehner is mistaken regarding who voted in favor of Prop B - 60% of the yes votes came from outside of St. Louis and Kansas City. The people of Missouri - all over Missouri - voted in favor of Prop B and the legislature would be wrong to try to overturn that vote.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 22, 2010 | 10:38 a.m.

Anne Hogan wrote:

"60% of the yes votes came from outside of St. Louis and Kansas City."

That is simply untrue.

St Louis and Kansas City passed this bill, not any of the more rural counties. Even Boone county voted it down.


(Report Comment)
Justin Ritter November 22, 2010 | 11:49 a.m.

As always, it depends upon how you figure the numbers. If you consider "Kansas City" to be Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties, and "St. Louis" to be St. Louis City, St. Louis county, St. Charles county, and Jefferson county, then 61.5% of the 'Yes' votes came from Kansas City and St. Louis. This, of course, means that 39.5% of the 'Yes' votes came from the more rural areas of the states.

However, most of those counties that include parts of Kansas City and St. Louis have large rural areas that are definitely not Kansas City or St. Louis. This is going to have the effect of driving the percentage of 'Yes' votes in rural areas up to an even higher percentage - perhaps near the 60% cited.

Anne Logan, where did you get that number you cited? Perhaps you have more detailed precinct voter results than the county by county map I found. It would be interesting to see the numbers for just the larger cities in the state, rather than the county by county results.

For what it's worth, I voted 'No', but majority rules in this one...

(Report Comment)
Terry Ward November 23, 2010 | 4:40 p.m.

These bubbleheads should ask themselves what the cost might be when Missouri becomes a very public national joke.

Even if they do overturn Prop. B, this disgrace will no longer be a dirty little secret carried out behind Billy-Bob's barn.

You Neanderthal antiprops might not care, but there are folks in Mo. who will.
It's just a matter of time...

(Report Comment)
Justin Ritter November 23, 2010 | 10:43 p.m.

Wow, more name calling. Based upon the prevailing phenotypes of the population, I think we can be reasonably certain that neither the opponents to Proposition B, nor its supporters, are actually Neanderthals.

Who wants to see dogs mistreated? Certainly not this guy. I don't think that any reasonable person is OK with the picture painted by the term "puppy mill". That said, I will not support any legislation that puts the force of law behind telling a person or business how many animals - any animals - can legally be possessed. I know the HSUS, etc, deny it, but that seems like a slippery slope.

That said, enforce the laws we have! OR make better ones that appropriately address dog conditions in a manner that acknowledges that they actually are animals - not little, four-legged people. (Flame-shield up...).

For what it's worth, I've loved the 20 or so dogs that have been in my life, and all (except one, from a small, family breeder) were from shelters or direct rescues. I love dogs - but I don't think that Prop B is worth its potential negative impact upon future animal legislation.

Well, look there - an entire post without any third-grade name calling (although "Neanderthal" is perhaps high school level). Have a nice day!

(Report Comment)
Terry Ward November 23, 2010 | 11:30 p.m.

Justin, how' bout reptilian troglodytes?
Actually, thats pretty mild 'name calling'.....for me, at least.
But then my pets are ACTUALLY rescued mill-dogs, so the 'names' I have for the
sub-humanoids who did what they did are quite unprintable.

For you though...I'm leaning toward 'evil genius'.
'Intellectual-gone-bad' is another, but no doubt you are too young to remember that context.

(Report Comment)
Justin Ritter November 24, 2010 | 12:29 a.m.

Haha, Terry, reptilian troglodytes IS better - and funny.

And, yes, my first name does give a vague indicator of my general age group. I really don't know the exact context of "intellectual-gone-bad" although its meaning seems clear enough. I like to think that I'm a general force for good...

I assure you, I know a wide variety of unique and effective pejoratives that could be applied to some "sub-humanoid" dog breeders. However, I don't think any insults are appropriate or useful to apply to fellow commenters in a public forum. Inflamed passions aren't helpful in reasoned discourse.

I have had pets that were ACTUALLY rescued mill-dogs. I have ACTUALLY seen the atrocious conditions they were living in. When my kids are old enough, I will adopt a pet from a shelter - probably one that is rescued from some un-licensed breeder that Prop B won't even touch (enforcement!). Yet my opinions on Prop B remain the same.

Blah, I've said enough on the interwebs for one day.

Have a nice day, everyone!

(Report Comment)
Terry Ward November 24, 2010 | 2:39 a.m.

I believe my pejoratives are somewhat elevated, given what goes on in the witches-brew of online comments..
And I bet my poop-scoop that those to whom they are directed haven't a clue what they mean.

The Supreme Being, to give you a little hint, of ALL 'intellectuals-gone-bad' was Henry Kissinger, (next to whom Dick Chaney is Mary Poppins
..But you were not around for those very strange days)

It was not your name that gave away your youth, it is the sophomoric opinion coming from one so obviously intelligent...a dead give-away, that.
The slippery-slope canard you should be especially ashamed of.
Slope to what?
The 'elimination of all agriculture' idiocy ?
'The 'too much government control' libertarian party-line poo-bah?
The Enrons and the credit-default swaps and the mortgage fraudsters were
okay by you?
If there HAD been more of the dreaded government control, none of this would have been an issue and the reputable breeder would continue on breeding badda bing with no problem.
So now everybody is stuck with a very big problem..
The devil, as they say, leaves his work behind him.
Being a' force for good' as you say is not always easy to achieve as it involves much wisdom and insight.
It is much easier to NOT be a force for evil..

(Report Comment)
Justin Ritter November 24, 2010 | 10:50 a.m.

Kissinger did leave office a few years before I was born so I don't have any direct experience of his leadership (I think...Bilderberg? Cue ominous music). I did read "Diplomacy" I while back, which didn't strike me as completely bad.

And I cannot argue with you about "agriculture idiocy", "libertarian party-line poo-bah", Enron, etc. It would seem we share some opinions (though, mine are perhaps more sophomoric than yours).

Nonetheless, I stand by my opinion that limiting the absolute number of dogs that can be owned is a poor way of going about it. I'm not a lawyer (if a lawyer is reading this, perhaps you could chime in...), but it seems like a definite precedent is set (if and when the law is challenged and upheld) that equates responsibility in animal husbandry with numbers rather than quality of care. If someone could convince that this is not a possibility, I would gladly listen and even (shock) be willing to change my opinion.

Tangentially, I found an interesting little article about the apparent fallacy of the "slippery slope" argument. I suppose I won't be using that line of reasoning any more:

Have a nice day.

(Report Comment)
Terry Ward November 24, 2010 | 2:57 p.m.

I only said sophomoric in that particular context.

Regarding this which you said above:
'it seems like a definite precedent is set (if and when the law is challenged and upheld) that equates responsibility in animal husbandry with numbers rather than quality of care.'

Precedent is only ONE chapter in the legislative/legal encyclopedia.
(I suspect too much Law&Order on the telly)

The 'fifty dog limit' , if compared to the THOUSANDS of laws and statutes and ordinances pertaining to ACTUAL animal abuse, is less than miniscule

Just another canard from folks who count on the fact that nobody thinks anymore...

For instance, which is the slipperiest slope?
The much bemoaned '50 dog limit', which is (regardless of what the Yobs say) applicable only to dogs,

or this , which applies to ALL animals..........

(MO)578.012. Animal abuse--penalties

1. A person is guilty of animal abuse when a person:

(1) Intentionally or purposely kills an animal in any manner not allowed by or expressly
exempted from the provisions of sections 578.005 to 578.023 and 273.030, RSMo;
(2) Purposely or intentionally causes injury or suffering to an animal; or
(3) Having ownership or custody of an animal knowingly fails to provide adequate care
or adequate control.

So, Justin, if you're going to yap about ' dangerous' precedent, which would you choose?

(Report Comment)
Terry Ward November 24, 2010 | 4:05 p.m.

Justin, the 'yap' was not meant to insult..
Just a (somewhat inane) 'dog' reference...
Attempting to keep on topic....

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane November 26, 2010 | 12:49 p.m.

The daily show did a clip featuring the leader of the opposition to Prop B that shows just how absurd the oppositions arguements on prop B are:

Prop B passed. The will of the voters needs to be upheld.

(Report Comment)

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