Missouri governor supports new dog-breeding compromise

Monday, April 18, 2011 | 8:06 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The governor has backed new dog-breeding legislation with the help of invested organizations and lawmakers, just days after the Missouri legislature voted to send Gov. Jay Nixon a bill to repeal several measures of November's voter-approved Proposition B.

Like the Senate bill, the agreement removes the 50-dog limit voted on in November. The compromise also adds $1.1 million for dog-breeding regulation enforcement and inspections.

"The agriculture groups signed on to it, the dog breeders association signed on to it, and I think everybody's in agreement that this is the best," said Bob Baker, executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, one of the groups that signed the agreement.

" I think it significantly improves conditions for the dogs, and we're very very pleased with this agreement," Baker said.

On April 13, the Senate joined the House in approving new measures that remove Proposition B's original 50-dog limit on breeding operations as well as restrictions on how often dogs can be bred and their living conditions. Supporters said the bill protects legitimate dog breeders in Missouri, but critics of the bill said the legislature had no right to repeal voters' decision.

Nixon has not yet addressed the bill, which is ready for either a veto or a signature. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, said he does not expect the governor to immediately veto his bill; rather, he said his bill will take the back seat as they try to push the new agreement through the statehouse.

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Shelley Powers April 18, 2011 | 8:29 p.m.

This "compromise" does not have broad acceptance.

Neither HSMO nor MALL speak for us.

Opinion on the "Compromise"

(Report Comment)
mindy Bloom April 18, 2011 | 9:41 p.m.

i'm not sure which side is lying or bullying best....all i do know is that every other weekend i drive for various rescue groups trying to save thousands of dogs from being euthanized. even now, i have six dogs i'm fostering that were pulled from a 'puppy mill' 10 days ago; frightened, w/no social skills, no potty skills, no names.... i'm against the people who treat the animals inhumanely....if you keep an animal in a small cage, w/no fresh water or food, no interaction w/humans (after thousands of years of breeding, dogs enjoy our companionship)and are constantly breeding the dog for profit, you are *the type of words i can't type here* pond-scum and it really is that simple. i wish you nothing more than the treatment you give your dogs - caged w/no human interaction and to sleep in your own deserve it, and more. if you are a breeder and you treat your dogs with love, consideration, and respect, i have no issue w/you. you probably aren't the ones creating the thousands of dogs i'm trying to save.

(Report Comment)
Harold Sutton April 18, 2011 | 10:36 p.m.

To Mindy Bloom; How many of these dogs you have rescued were taken from an actual liscensed dog breeder?

(Report Comment)
Kathy Snowberry April 19, 2011 | 7:44 a.m.

Harold: In March 2011 (the latest report) the USDA/APHIS dept issued ony 41 Animal Care Enforcment Actions throughout the entire US. 17 of these 41 (42%)were issued for repeated violations by MO LICensed commercial dog breeders. Additionally, of those 17, 41% included REPEATED failure to establish or maintain an appropriate program of vet care..."to prevent, control, diagnose, and treat diseaes and injuries."

These "Enforcement Actions", after repeatd violations for the same offense(s), are merely warnings, with no penalty. Incentives for compliance are weak - yes?

The USDA/APHIS does not call upon the local rescues to confiscate the dogs unless/until the conditions become a crisis situation.

(Report Comment)
Ruth Keezer April 19, 2011 | 7:38 p.m.

Kathy, just how do you think that a failure to have the vet fill out a form (or not being able to locate that form that day) should be handled? Jail time, perhaps? Have their dogs taken away? Shut them down? Or a big monetary fine? Paperwork violations are pretty minor and do NOT affect the dogs in any way. A reminder of proper paperwork procedure usually works best.

(Report Comment)
Alysha Love April 19, 2011 | 8:22 p.m.

Actually, the Humane Society of Missouri signed the compromise and helped draft the agreement. The Humane Society of the United States, however, issued a statement against the agreement; they say it eliminates the reforms brought about in Proposition B.

This information was in an earlier version of this article that doesn't seem to have made it to publication.

Alysha Love, statehouse student editor

(Report Comment)
Kathy Snowberry April 19, 2011 | 10:04 p.m.

Ruth - odd how their vet records and documented vet program were missing during each of several inspections spanning months apart. Some instances were direct violations. As I read the explanations, that means that some number of dogs were presently (at that time) exhibiting the need for vet care - or - exhibiting the consequences of not having vet care. Also, this was not the only repeat offense. How many reminders to fix something should be required before some action is taken? APHIS inspectors do have instruction manuals and forms that cover this. But according to the USDA these instructions, more often than not, are not followed. My opinion re penalties -I have none. Just apply the rules as written.

Now I'm curious about all the inspection records of each of the 17 MO LCDBs given warnings in March. As you suggest, maybe their records are otherwise clean - maybe not.

(Report Comment)
Harold Sutton April 20, 2011 | 8:14 a.m.

I'm going to try one more time to get an answer to my question; To Mindy. Rescue groups. How many, in a recent given time period, rescued dogs came from licensed breeders and how many are from other sites, both private and non-licensed breeders.

The implication always seems to be that the only violators are licensed breeders. So, please, give an accurate report of the whole picture. Meaning, all violations, including private individuals. Why can't names and addresses be included?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking April 20, 2011 | 8:28 a.m.

Kathy Snowberry wrote:

"How many reminders to fix something should be required before some action is taken?"

That's something that can be addressed (as a matter of USDA and MDA policy) without the need for Prop B at all.

If Prop B were only about enforcement, virtually no one would be trying to modify it. But it's not, and imposes a lot of very destructive and expensive changes that will simply eliminate most licensed breeders. Supporters of the proposition have said on this very board that they want this to happen, in fact.


(Report Comment)
Robin Nuttall April 20, 2011 | 8:39 p.m.

@Harold, don't expect an answer to that question, because if Mindy answers it truthfully, it will show that very few of the dogs in shelters/rescues come from licensed breeders.

The estimates I've seen floating around out there are that about 20% of dogs in shelters are purebreds. I don't know where that percentage comes from and I would tend to believe that estimate is quite high. But let's take it on its face and pretend that it's a valid number. Even if it is, that means that 80% of the dogs in the shelter are not purebred. Further, of that 20% we don't know how many come from what kind of breeder; commercial, pet, show. Certainly not all come from commercial breeders.

It's far easier to point the finger at purebred breeders (especially commercial breeders) and say they are the cause of the supposed pet overpopulation in the U.S. than it is to admit that it is normal, everyday folks (albeit careless, lazy, irresponsible everyday folks) who create most of the problem. And in reality I'm not sure we have a pet overpopulation problem as much as we have a home retention problem. Most animals coming into shelters HAD homes. They lost them. Proposition B would do absolutely nothing to change that, so continuing to hitch the bill to "overpopulation in shelters" is pretty darned stupid. But there you go.

(Report Comment)
Kathy Snowberry April 21, 2011 | 4:52 a.m.

Mark F: Where's the reset button?

I did not mention Prop B.

I was pointing out the lack of enforcement of current laws – which I see as a major contributing factor to those instances of dogs in CDB operations not getting adequate and humane care. This is not limited to the unlicensed CDBs. To the contrary, this occurs regularly among licensed CDBs. Poor and irregular enforcement of existing laws is occurring because of MDA’s policies of enforcement. Throwing $$$ and/or more inspectors into the mix won’t fix it unless the MDA policies are put in compliance. This is not addressed in anything currently on the table. Not Prop B, not SB 113, and not Nixon’s proposed compromise. IMO, this needs to be addressed in whatever outcome is achieved.

But, since you mentioned Prop B….

I view Prop B as a loud and strong wake-up call to MO for improving the QoL for the dogs bred and sold by CDBs. I believe improvements are needed, are possible, and could be acceptable to all. I believe the proposals currently on the table, each for different reasons, are too flawed or otherwise inadequate. Each faction involved has, overall and generally, been guilty of some missteps and of behaving with determination to devalue or ignore the perspectives of the others. What I don’t believe is that any productive discourse will result from anything I just said; because sides have been chosen and territories etched in concrete. No offense intended, it is simply the way it is.

(Report Comment)

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