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Are Missouri Dog Breeders Feeling the Effects of 'Prop B?'Posted Friday, November 9, 2012, at 4:43 PM
Over the last few years, I have had several columns highlighting issues dealing with the Proposition B of 2010, the Human Society of the United States (HSUS) and the "Missouri Solution." If you have not been following the issues, make sure to check out my column from late last year to get a quick recap.
Many Missourians realized that "Prop B" would do little to fix the problems in the dog breeding industry and would only do further harm to the properly licensed and inspected breeders. So, in turn, the "Missouri Solution" was passed to fight back against HSUS and attempt to resolve many of the problems with "Prop B" that would hurt responsible dog breeders.
It has been a relatively quiet year in the Legislature regarding issues of this nature. It has not been as quiet in recent months for Missouri dog breeders.
Even though "Prop B" was revamped by Missouri legislators, there are signs that its influence is hurting the Missouri dog breeders. Many of you may know that I love dogs, especially our bloodhound, "Duke." However, I believe some folks think that it is fundamentally wrong to raise animals of any kind for the purpose of selling their offspring. I do not agree.
Throughout Missouri, dog breeders seem to be giving up and are not willing to fight new overzealous inspections and regulations. Breeders are coming forward and raising concerns about the malicious and hostile environment that state inspectors are creating. The Missouri Department of Agriculture's Animal Health Division is in charge of handling commercial dog breeder inspections under the Animal Care Facilities Act Program (ACFA). I am hearing from dog breeders around the state that the inspectors are not being fair and consistent with their inspections. There is a lack of care for dog breeders shown by the inspectors and the unpredictability shown in the handling of violations is unacceptable.
One of the worst examples is one breeder being reprimanded for a piece of dog food in their water bowl. Another was fined for having a small bit of plant life, a Morning Glory, growing on the side of one cage.
The fact is that no one wants dogs to be mistreated or have inadequate care, but is it right for inspectors to be intimidating dog breeders by making it nearly impossible to become properly licensed and for their facilities to pass inspection? The operations that are giving up are legitimate small breeders that are fed up with the harassment by inspectors and have decided to throw in the towel. Many of these smaller operations are owned by people who do care for their dogs and raise dogs because they enjoy animals.
The question is: If these attacks on dog breeders continue and the humanely operated dog breeder facilities continue to shut down, where are Missourians going to buy their families pets? If politicians are "creating jobs," why are they killing one industry at a time with regulations? When you or your family want to buy a dog in the future will you even be able to do so in the state of Missouri? These are questions that will be answered in the coming years here in the Show-Me State. I believe we have not heard the last on this issue.
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Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, represented the 21st district in the Missouri Senate until January 2013, when he left after reaching established term limits. He is a life-long resident of Saline County, a farmer and small business owner. He and his wife, Sue Ellen, live on their family farm in Napton. He was the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight. He served on a number of other committees, including Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources; Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy & the Environment; Financial & Governmental Organizations & Elections; Joint Interim Committee on School Accreditation; Missouri Alternative Fuels Commission; Missouri Civil Air Patrol; Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission; Missouri Senior RX Commission; Alzheimer's State Plan Task Force; Coordinating Council on Special Transportation; and Midwestern Interstate passage Rail Compact Commission.
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