Posted in animal abuse, cats, dogs, pets, shelter animals

A step forward for Missouri

Sometimes when you take one step forward, you still feel like you’re falling behind. That may be how folks who’ve made humanitarian efforts to rescue puppy mill dogs in America’s heartlands are feeling lately.
There are said to be hundreds and hundreds of commercial dog breeding facilities in Missouri. Over one thousand are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). They provide thousands of puppies to be sold as pets all over the U.S. yearly, comprising an estimated 40 percent of all national sales, according to the ASPCA.
Sadly, some of these puppies don’t get a very good start in life. For decades Missouri has been the leader in the number of commercial breeding facilities known as “puppy mills.” Yet some of Missouri’s commercial breeders have been cited numerous times for inadequate living conditions for dogs in their facilities.
Hopefully that’s about to change. The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act was a much-needed piece of legislation seeking to reform Missouri’s confusing and weak laws regarding the commercial breeding of dogs. Known also as Proposition B, hundreds of individuals sought approval for the measure. It was voted in this past Election Day in Missouri.
Now it remains to be seen how quickly the standards set forth in the proposal will be adopted by those dog breeders who have abused the previous laws regarding large-scale breeding of dogs.
While there are also many humane and responsible breeders in the state, the amount of puppies born in squalid conditions has led to numerous rescue efforts to shut down those negligent proprietors. Living in crowded conditions, with exposure to temperature extremes in all kinds of weather, with little or no health care, many of these dogs were abused and neglected by breeders exploiting the existing Missouri statutes.
Proposition B would provide clear standards for the care of dogs in such facilities. The act limits the number of breeding females to no more than 50, and requires breeders to provide adequate food and clean water, proper housing and space, and regular exercise, as well as regular veterinary care.
This will take time. It will be a year before the proposition takes effect.
There is still a lot of work ahead, because even though Prop. B makes the law more clear, it doesn’t address the meager number of inspectors available for the task.
So if you’re thinking of buying a dog in the near future, give good consideration to adopting from a local breeder whose interest is in selling a healthy pup.
Or even better, look in local animal shelters for a canine companion to take home.
Consider it one step forward on your part in curbing puppy mill abuses.

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Owned by three cats over age 13