Proposition B: dog breeding
Some in the Missouri agriculture community said the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, a ballot initiative sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, could open the door to unwelcome legislation in the agriculture sector.
Volunteers are pushing for a November ballot measure to regulate Missouri's dog breeding facilities.
Missouri has the most puppy mills in the nation. Animal rights advocates hope to regulate such breeding by imposing harsher penalties on offenders; critics think trying to regulate puppy mill operators who already don't adhere to licensing rules would do little to stop the problem.
Missouri's animal rights organizations are taking a stand against puppy mills; they're in the process of collecting 100,000 signatures for the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, which would appear on the November 2010 ballot.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said that a crackdown on dog breeding facilities identified more than 170 kennels that might be violating the law. Most of the breeders have agreed to apply for licenses, but at least 24 could face criminal charges.
While the U.S. Department of Agriculture has minimal requirements for dog owners, society sets a higher standard, which leads to the term "puppy mills" for the technically legal but inhumane treatment of dogs.
Attorney General Chris Koster and Department of Agriculture Director Jon Hagler announced Monday that the state's top law enforcement agency will join the effort to stop unlicensed and substandard dog breeders from operating in Missouri.
More than 100 dogs and three primates were seized in Daviess County. The dogs are at the Humane Society in St. Louis, and some will be put up for adoption next week.
Critics wonder why unfit breeders get to profit from the sale of their dogs.
Missouri is known as the "puppy mill" capital of the U.S. The new Agriculture Director says he is trying to change that reputation. But, with a small staff of inspectors, the department cannot check up on every breeder in the state.
Missouri tops the country in licensed dog breeders but it's also considered the leader in inhumane breeding. Agriculture Department Director Jon Hagler is working to change the latter.