On average, EACH OF THE STATES that participated in the BBB survey reported 23 enforcement actions taken PER YEAR. Missouri reported ONLY 3. Also, 15.7% of the survey states indicated among their kennels this is the percent where “enforcement action” was taken. Missouri’s average is 8.3%.
What is the reason for this disparity? Simply put…..MONEY.
Hunte Corporation, one of the country’s largest brokers to puppy stores, is located in Missouri. Hunte employs many Missourians and pays the state a significant amount of taxes. So do many of the state’s other licensed breeders. In these tough economic times, looking the other way in order to keep the money flow running is probably an easy sell for state and local legislators. Virtually every state surveyed discussed what inhibited them from doing additional inspections, better enforcing regulations and finding more unlicensed breeders.
I think the author explains it perfectly, “In effect, state officials are caught in a Catch-22 dilemma – to commit more resources to locating unlicensed breeders on the one hand, or to commit more resources to regulating licensed breeders and others more vigorously.” In many cases, they choose a middle road, leaving them weak on both. This lack of aggressive enforcement has allowed what are at best substandard and at worst illegal and unethical breeders and kennel owners to stay in business. And those legal remedies that are in place are not inhibitors: Most breeders view the nominal fines they are often forced to pay as just another cost of doing business. In addition, there is often an inherent conflict between federal auditors, who prefer a fine-based approach, and state inspectors, who favor a more persuasive approach.
Regardless, neither way is working.