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More on Mo. Puppy Mill Law


Tommy Coyote
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The Proposition B puppy mill law was passed by 52% of the voters. It passed in the urban areas and failed in the rural areas. The bill allowed only 50 dogs, larger spaces for the dogs - they had to be able to stand up and turn around and stretch, more access to the outside, more veterinary care.

 

So the rural people got support in the state legislature and managed to get the legislature to completely dismantle the bill - without going back to the voters. The new, revamped bill has gone to the governor for signing. They claim that their new bill protects the commercial dog breeders but still goes after the illegal puppy mills.

 

And boy are people here hot about the whole thing. Its not just that most Missourians are not crazy about being the puppy Mill Capitol of the US. It's that the bill was passed by a majority vote. And then the rural folk - out where all the commercial dog kennels are - managed to circumvent the whole thing. They claim that thousands of people will lose their jobs. And that this is just the first step in waging a war for an all out ban on animal agriculture. (The KC Star calls that argument preposterous).

 

I don't get where the thousands of jobs are. One big breeder here got shut down not too long ago and I think they had a total of 10 people working there.

 

A friend of mine called the governor's office yesterday and was told that their office has been swamped by calls from unhappy voters.

 

So, we shall see what happens now.

 

http://www.kansascity.com/2011/04/11/2799204/bill-modifying-puppy-mill-law.html

 

http://voices.kansascity.com/entries/nixon-should-veto-repeal-voter-approved-puppy-mill-law/

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The problem as I understand it is it was not just geared towards dogs, it could be interpreted to be ALL domestic animals. That would mean it would affect farmers as well as PM's and hence the problem. If the wording changes then I think it would be OK.

I don'

I think that is the case. The bill very specifically states "dogs". But I think that is the argument that the other side used to get everyone in an uproar. I haven't read it in a while but I remember thinking at the time that the bill was very specific about "dogs" and not any other kind of animal. The KC Star even mentioned that in their coverage - that that argument was preposterous.

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The problem as I understand it is it was not just geared towards dogs, it could be interpreted to be ALL domestic animals. That would mean it would affect farmers as well as PM's and hence the problem. If the wording changes then I think it would be OK.

As someone who has had some experience writing rules in state government, if MO is anything like my state, the law is (necessarily) relatively vague. The actual rules that will be used to implement the law will need to be written and go through legislative approval. This is where I would focus. There also should be a Concise Explanatory Document and possibly an implementation guidance that will further explain the fine detail of the intent of the rules. These rules (once again if MO is like AZ) will go through a LOT of mandated public scrutiny and input.

And then there's the budget.....

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As I understand it Tommy, the thousands of jobs are not just those directly employed by the breeders but also all the businesses that rely on their revenue, vets, vet supply companies, dog food companies, equipment manufacturers and such. It's a trickle down type of deal.

 

We are very very small scale breeder, we produce demonstrations and buy and sell our sheep and calves through the breeding/kennel business, last year our operation took in about $12,000 all of the money went right back into the economy, we spent all $12,000 and then some on supplies, equipment and to live.

 

Our operation is nothing like what would have been closed down with the 50 dog limit or the ones that would have shuttered their dogs due to not being able to comply with the housing requirements that were presented with Prop B. Many are trying to generate enough to support their families in place of a outside saleried job, while others are using it as supplimental income or as a part time job, but it does show how the money in turns into money out which is what keeps others working.

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Tommy unless the bill changed after the vote it said domestic animals which would give it governance over livestock. While it was aimed at dogs and perhaps cats it apparently covered more.

 

http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2010petitions/2010-085.asp

 

As I understand it Tommy, the thousands of jobs are not just those directly employed by the breeders but also all the businesses that rely on their revenue, vets, vet supply companies, dog food companies, equipment manufacturers and such. It's a trickle down type of deal.

 

Same could be said for dogfighting operations, I guess -- shutting them down is bad for business. And it's a good argument for breeding even MORE dogs -- enhance the income of all those vets and dog food companies. Create new jobs. Bring our economy roaring back!

 

Democracy -- it's what's for speeches.

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No, dog fighting is a illegal activity, dog breeding or the sale of dogs are not.

Yes, but keeping more than 50 dogs for breeding and keeping them in prohibited conditions is also an illegal activity under the law the voters adopted. And dogfighting was not an illegal activity until a "bad-for-the-economy" law was passed outlawing it.

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Just think of all the trickle-down we have now - shelter employees, sales of the blue juice, shelter supplies and food. Who ever would want to reduce that amount of money moving through the economy by shutting down the mass or rather random production of pups for sale to anyone with the money, no follow-up, no returns, no spay-neuter, nothing to avoid or discourage those buyers from producing their own pups...

 

All that producing pups "for whatever reason" (and I'm not talking well-bred pups because mills and BYBs aren't concerned with producing good pups, just saleable pups) just means another youngster or dog that's already "on the ground and in the pound", is going to get the blue juice for lack of a home.

 

JMO.

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No, dog fighting is a illegal activity, dog breeding or the sale of dogs are not.

 

Wasn't your argument above that the bill hurts people's ability to support their families/generate income and provide the "trickle". So, how is the legality or illegality of the activity relevant to that argument?

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Wasn't your argument above

 

I didn't make an argument, I stated my understanding of where the employment numbers are coming from after Tommy asked.

 

A few years back I was told that the dog breeding industry was MO number one agriculture industry from a revenue standpoint, I've not looked for any support to that claim, but regardless, shut it down it will hurt the states economy, especially in the rural areas, plain and simple.

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Yes, but keeping more than 50 dogs for breeding and keeping them in prohibited conditions is also an illegal activity under the law the voters adopted

 

 

 

The second part was illegal before the passage of the new bill, MO is like IA, over X number of dogs and you are subject to inspections and oversite, the biggest change that Prop B did as I understand it is limit the numbers to 50 and clarify what a domestic animal is

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The second part was illegal before the passage of the new bill,

 

There were some requirements in existing law. The new bill set additional requirements, and hence created some new "prohibited conditions."

 

the biggest change that Prop B did as I understand it is limit the numbers to 50 and clarify what a domestic animal is

 

If there's anything in Prop B that clarifies what a domestic animal is, I sure haven't been able to find it.

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If there's anything in Prop B that clarifies what a domestic animal is, I sure haven't been able to find it.

 

I mis-spoke, the fact sheet that was sent out with the overview of prop B along with definitions based on MO law was coming to mind. The Prop B deal is close to us, we've been informed that the regulations that Prop B puts on dog breeders is going to be attempted here in Iowa, though we been reassured that it will not gain any traction or support.

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Deb, I stopped reading your link after paragraph 1. It is either dishonest or misinformed to say that Prop B applies to animals other than dogs. The bill plainly states:

 

The purpose of this Act is to prohibit the cruel and inhumane treatment of
dogs
in
puppy
mills by requiring large-scale
dog breeding operations
to provide each
dog
under their care with basic food and water, adequate shelter from the elements, necessary veterinary care, adequate space to turn around and stretch his or her limbs, and regular exercise.

 

Section 3 provides that "any person having custody or ownership of more than ten female covered dogs for the purpose of breeding those animals and selling any offspring for use as a pet shall provide each covered dog" a specified list of care and living conditions.

 

Section 4 provides that "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person may have custody of more than fifty covered dogs for the purpose of breeding those animals and selling any offspring for use as a pet."

 

Those are the only provisions of the bill that impose any requirements or outlaw any conduct. The only ones. There is just no room for confusion on this point. It doesn't matter in the slightest how "pet" is defined because the bill only places restrictions/requirements on the maintainance and treatment of dogs.

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But will Prop B's definition of pet be limited to dogs and prop B? Livestock is considered to be domesticated animals

 

(9) ”Pet” means any domesticated animal normally maintained in or near the household of the owner thereof.
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I believe that "livestock" and "pet" do not have the same meaning, though both are domesticated. Where the line seems to blur is with horses, which some consider livestock and others consider pets (which feeds into the whole horse slaughter controversy). At any rate, I find it hard to believe that someone would consider the domesticated angus bull who lives in a pasture next to his owner's house as a pet, since livestock generally aren't considered companion animals.

 

But then scare tactics are one of the best ways to rally folks to a cause, so it's no wonder the "antis" are claiming that a "domesticated animal living in or near the household thereof" could include livestock.

 

J.

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We are very very small scale breeder, we produce demonstrations and buy and sell our sheep and calves through the breeding/kennel business, last year our operation took in about $12,000

 

So Deb

Are you saying that if propB stood as it was passed it would have effected your business?

I'm not sure why you seem to be defending this bill being changed if that's what you are doing.

 

Just trying to gain understanding of your points.

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But will Prop B's definition of pet be limited to dogs and prop B? Livestock is considered to be domesticated animals

 

Be limited by whom? Where? When? Prop B by its terms applies only to dogs. It only uses the term "pet" when saying that the law covers those who are breeding dogs and selling their offspring "for use as a pet." But the offspring of dogs are always dogs -- they are not cows or chickens.

 

If this were really the issue, specious as it is, then the legislature would have just changed or dropped the definition of "pet." It's nothing but a trumped up excuse to contravene the will of the people expressed in the voting booth. If I were a Missouri voter I'd probably be marching on Jefferson City with a "Don't Tread On Me" sign.

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Be limited by whom? Where? When? Prop B by its terms applies only to dogs. It only uses the term "pet" when saying that the law covers those who are breeding dogs and selling their offspring "for use as a pet." But the offspring of dogs are always dogs -- they are not cows or chickens.

 

If this were really the issue, specious as it is, then the legislature would have just changed or dropped the definition of "pet." It's nothing but a trumped up excuse to contravene the will of the people expressed in the voting booth. If I were a Missouri voter I'd probably be marching on Jefferson City with a "Don't Tread On Me" sign.

People here are pretty upset.

 

It always seems to come down to the bottom line. The welfare of the animals be damned. Some of these commercial breeders have over 1,000 animals. The breeder in Oberlin, Ks euthanized over 1200.

 

I don't really think we will be able to shut down the big commercial breeders. I don't know that the state should have the right to limit the number of animals if they are taken care of properly. If they are licensed and inspected on a regular basis. I personally hate the idea of commercial breeders and selling dogs in pets stores but I don't know if should be stopped just because I find it nauseating.

 

I just wish there was some way to stop the puppy mills where the animals are treated so badly. The opposition is trying to argu that those kinds of puppy mills are illegal operations and the new bill wouldn't affect them anyway. If there was some way that brokers could only purchase dogs for commercial sale from licensed and inspected breeders?

 

I think I'm not very different from most Missourians. We hate the puppy mills and the neglect and cruelty that seem to be part and parcel of those operations.

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Are you saying that if propB stood as it was passed it would have effected your business?

 

NO, but, if it was passed here in Iowa, Yes. We would be faced with the decision to either upgrade our facilities or to keep our numbers below 10 breeding age females. I have no intentions on having 10 females for breeding, but more then once we have had 10 breeding aged females on premises. Any of my females that are 6 months old are considered as breeding age and are considered as breeding stock. So basically if the law would have been here we would have already been in violation.

 

We have housing that does not meet the first of the two sections, we have runs with dog houses and none of our indoor access runs have heat or air conditioning. Our indoor access runs have 6 x 3 (18 square feet, we have large dogloos in some of our indoor areas and the dogloos take up 1/2 of the floor space. Our current indoor pens would not legally accomidate 1 dog, Jake is 38 inches long and would need 30 square feet of indoor housing. Imagine if that housing was imposed on any one that raises or has dogs. I can't support it.

 

(4) ”Sufficient housing, including protection from the elements” means constant and unfettered access to an indoor enclosure that has a solid floor; is not stacked or otherwise placed on top of or below another animal’s enclosure; is cleaned of waste at least once a day while the dog is outside the enclosure; and does not fall below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, or rise above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

 

(5) ”Sufficient space to turn and stretch freely, lie down, and fully extend his or her limbs” means having (1) sufficient indoor space for each dog to turn in a complete circle without any impediment (including a tether); (2) enough indoor space for each dog to lie down and fully extend his or her limbs and stretch freely without touching the side of an enclosure or another dog; (3) at least one foot of headroom above the head of the tallest dog in the enclosure; and (4) at least 12 square feet of indoor floor space per each dog up to 25 inches long; at least 20 square feet of indoor floor space per each dog between 25 and 35 inches long; and at least 30 square feet of indoor floor space per each dog for dogs 35 inches and longer (with the length of the dog measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail).

 

If the law was to be imposed here and if we wanted to keep our current numbers continuing on with our program as planned, allowing us to raise and train our own dogs along with having the flexibility to have 10 breeding aged females, which we have had in the past we would need to build more kennel runs onto our buildings (right now we only have 6) expand our current indoor access areas and we would have to insulate, install furnaces and air conditioning units in 2 maybe three different buildings. The third building would be needed if we elected to not build runs to the north and west, right now all of our runs face the south. If you came to visit here November - March you would understand why we would not want unfettered access runs out to the north or west.

 

Also, I don't know that our one building that we currently use to raise pups once I move them out of the house would be able to hold anymore then 1 dog, right now I have 2 6 x 3 bay with an aisle. We have heated it on a temporary basis.

 

So here is the deal, we will be faced with spending alot of money or getting rid of dogs not based on our program or what we can care for but rather based on the law. Doing the upgrades is not going to effect the welfare of our dogs, and in all reality I don't know that I want our dogs to all have heated access during the winter or air conditioning during the summer, they are working dogs and need to be acclimated to the environment that they are working in.

 

I've not been to many border collie breeders places, but I wonder how many of them would also be effected. The ones I've been to would be in the same situation as us, I don't know of anyone that meets the laid out criteria.

 

We may as well have a national 10 dog limit for everyone regardless of whether or not the dogs are altered or what type of facility you have.

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One of the places I think the bill really fell down is that not all dogs need all things. I have a friend with yorkies. They don't need access to the outside. Her dogs never go out. They just live in the house with her and they are just fine.

 

There are breeds that don't need heating and cooling - except in the extreme weather. They need good shelter, clean conditions, lots of fresh water and good food and the chance to get out and exercise often.

 

What is sickening are the puppy mills that have lots of small breeds that are stuck outside in horrible cages all of the time - rain, freezing weather, storms, heat. That is just plain animal cruelty.

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