Go The Distance
Everyone who’s read this blog knows that Zoey was born into a puppy mill in Missouri and that we returned there last summer to rescue her mom and dad from the same mill. (And to the pet store that is probably reading this blog right now it WAS A PUPPY MILL. Face the facts! There were 300+ dogs there and trust that some of them were neglected. That is not a hobby breeder my friend). In fact, Missouri has more mills than virtually any other state in the U.S.; approximately 1/3 of the nation’s puppy mills reside in that state alone.
In response, a group of concerned Missourians have formed a group called Missourians for the Protection of Dogs / Yes on Prop B!, which has put a citizen-sponsored, state ballot initiative in front of the state’s voters this fall. The Puppy Mill Prevention Act, as the initiative is known, is aimed directly at Missouri’s hundreds of commercial breeding operations, requiring that these businesses provide the dogs under their care with a minimum standard of care that is expressly laid out. It also limits the number of breeding dogs at any one facility to 50 in an attempt to rein in the largest facilities, where the worst abuses often take place.
The group is sponsored and supported by a combination of animal rights and welfare organizations as well as veterinarians, businesses (many involved in the animal industry), religious leaders, government officials and concerned citizens. Even St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa is lending his name and time to the cause, a not-insignificant benefit in a baseball-crazy state.
We’ve written extensively about the lack of adequate inspection in Missouri: “The Puppy Industry” Part I , Inspectors and the Puppy Marketplace, Part II , Part IV: Enforcement of the USDA Rules and Regulations .This means that while Prop B is a good start, it will be toothless unless Missouri puts financial resources and human capital into enforcing the will of the people. We will continue to advocate and educate until the state does so.