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Columbia Missourian

LETTER: Dogs suffer while politicians debate changes to Proposition B

By Kathryn W. Warnick
April 4, 2011 | 1:03 p.m. CDT

Last November, nearly one million Missourians approved Proposition B, ­ the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.

That majority of voters know exactly why they voted for this legislation: ­ Dogs are suffering horribly in Missouri's substandard puppy mills. Proposition B will make their lives better.

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Now, after years of refusing to deal with this shameful problem, Missouri legislators say they want to "fix" this law before it's even been enacted. Be assured, this "fix," Senate Bill 113, is a sham. If it passes into law, you won't even be able to recognize Proposition B, which would be stripped of its core provisions.

Very soon, the Missouri House will debate its Proposition B "fix," House Bill 131. This version also guts all protections for the many thousands of breeding dogs suffering their entire lives cruelly housed in stacked, overcrowded, filthy, wire-bottom cages, denied veterinary care, exposed to extreme weather and given no exercise or human affection.

The Humane Society of Missouri is on the front lines of this disgraceful problem. Every year, in cooperation with state and local agencies and law enforcement, we rescue and rehabilitate dogs from substandard puppy mills.

We treat them for severe eye, ear and skin infections, dental disease, parasites and chronic behavior issues. They desperately need and deserve Proposition B.

Missouri legislators should not overturn the will of the people, and Missourians who voted for Proposition B will not be misled by deceitful efforts to repeal this lifesaving legislation.

We urge all Missourians to contact their Missouri House representatives immediately. Ask them to vote no on HB 131 and no on the emergency clause attached to the bill that seeks to prevent referendum activity. A successful referendum would stay the proposed Senate and House bills, putting Proposition B into effect as originally scheduled and letting Missouri voters again cast their ballots on the issue in November 2012.

Let your representatives know that you and the majority of Missourians want our approval of Proposition B to stand and the cruelty and suffering for puppy mill dogs to end now.

Kathryn W. Warnick is the president of the Humane Society of Missouri.