I wish to commend the Columbia Missourian for the excellent reporting in the three part series entitled, “Commercial Dog Breeding Industry” (Aug. 22, 2014).
As you accurately point out in this piece, the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act has been very successful in weeding out the bad apples in the dog breeding industry and has raised the standards of care to ensure the humane treatment of breeding animals for existing facilities.
This was an act that had widespread support, not only in the Missouri animal welfare community, but also from industry representatives including the Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Pet Breeders Association and the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners.
It was, therefore, disappointing to read in your story that the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners is now claiming that it opposes the act, especially after previously signing a document addressed to Gov. Jay Nixon and to members of the Missouri General Assembly in support of such act.
I also wish to address the concerns expressed by a breeder quoted in your story who believed “that constant and unfettered access (to an outdoor exercise area) can put animals in unnecessary danger” and uses as an example that one night there was a heavy thunderstorm and “some Yorkies wandered outside in the rain and lightning.”
The regulations clearly exempt constant and unfettered access to the outdoors “between dusk and dawn” and in “extreme weather” (CSR 30-9.030) thus, there was no reason for his dogs to be exposed to such inclement weather.
This requirement for access to the outdoors was a result of far too many breeders confining their dogs inside barns and never allowing them access to the outdoors or to fresh air for their entire existence.
We believe that the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act is a common sense law that does not preclude the commerce of dogs and yet provides them with humane standards of care.
Bob Baker is executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation.