Missouri Voters Pass Puppy Mill Standards

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Missouri Voters Pass Puppy Mill Standards

[Ed. Note: Bad news. As of April 2011, a compromise was reached negating the will of the voters. Read Missouri’s 2011 Puppy Mill Compromise.]

By Daelyn Fortney on This Dish is Veg
November 2010

If we can do it here in the nation’s largest puppy mill state, we are more likely to carry the day with reforms enacted in other states, where this cruel industry is not nearly as strong and entrenched.

Voters in Missouri used their ballots to send a message to puppy mills by approving Prop B, a measure that will establish basic standards for the care of dogs in large-scale commercial breeding facilities. In addition to prohibiting a breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs whose puppies will be offered for sale, Prop B will require puppy mills in the state of Missouri to provide each animal with adequate food, clean water, regular exercise, necessary veterinary care, and rest between breeding cycles. Missouri is known as the puppy mill capital of the United States with an estimated 3,000 commercial breeding facilities.

“We are grateful to the citizens of Missouri for voting to crack down on puppy mill abuses and to establish common-sense standards for the care of dogs,” said Barbara Schmitz, campaign director for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop B. “Finally these animals will have relief from being crammed into small and filthy cages, without veterinary care, exercise, or human affection. If we can do it here in the nation’s largest puppy mill state, we are more likely to carry the day with reforms enacted in other states, where this cruel industry is not nearly as strong and entrenched.”

“This is a watershed moment for the dogs in Missouri’s breeding facilities,” said Kathy Warnick, president of the Humane Society of Missouri. “They will no longer have to suffer the unspeakable cruelty and inhumane conditions that have plagued them for so long. From this point forward, a more humane and compassionate standard of care will prevail for Missouri’s dogs.”

“This was a hard-fought victory due to the misinformation and outright lies being disseminated by the opponents of Prop B,” said Bob Baker, executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation. “Fortunately, Missouri voters were able to distinguish the truth and recognize Prop B for what it is, a common-sense measure to ensure the humane treatment of dogs.”

“It is no more business as usual for the puppy mill industry, and we have a pathway forward that will allow us to turn around this problem for Missouri and the nation with this victory tonight for the dogs,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.

“We are more hopeful than ever that the strong momentum around puppy mill cruelty will push other states to follow Missouri’s lead, causing a ripple effect throughout the nation,” said Ed Sayres, president and CEO of the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). “In no other state were the stakes higher for puppy mill dogs, and Missourians have set an admirable precedent for reform.”

“This is a tremendous victory for the hundreds of thousands of dogs suffering in Missouri’s puppy mills,” said Elizabeth Oreck, national campaign manager for Best Friends Animal Society. “The people of Missouri recognized that change needed to happen, and that they are no longer willing to support this cruel and inhumane industry. If it can be done in Missouri, where the problem is the most severe, it can be done anywhere.”

Prop B was supported by many veterinarians and responsible dog breeders within the state and more than 100 animal welfare organizations, including the Humane Society of Missouri, Humane Society of Southwest Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Best Friends Animal Society, and The Humane Society of the United States.