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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Stouffer files bill to repeal 'puppy mill' law

Friday, December 31, 2010

Editor's note: This story is the first of two that look at the latest in the controversial "puppy mill" law approved by voters in November. Part two will focus on Proposition B and the changes it enacts compared to existing animal protection laws.

When state Sen. Bill Stouffer (R-Napton) filed a "straight-up" repeal of Proposition B -- the ballot issue commonly known as the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act"-- critics were quick to speak up.

"Missouri's elected officials should respect the will of the people," said Barbara Schmitz, campaign director of Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, on a website statement. "Subverting the judgment of voters is anti-democratic. Our system is built on majority rule, and a majority of Missouri favored Prop B. The voters acted precisely because the legislature has failed to stop puppy mill abuses."

On Nov. 2, the proposition passed by 2 percent of the votes: 997,870 or 51.6 percent to 936,190 or 48.4 percent.* However, opponents of the law have pointed out it passed in just 11 of the state's 114 counties, with all but two of the counties being part of the metropolitan areas of Kansas City and St. Louis.

Since filing the repeal bill on Dec. 1, Stouffer's office has fielded many negative e-mails concerning the subject including at least one that hoped his family "all got AIDS and died."

Recently, six billboards have been purchased by the Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, a non-profit organization, that was formed to promote the legislation, to greet returning legislators with, "Missouri voters have spoken. Will you listen?"

"It is a highly emotional issue on both sides," Stouffer said in a recent interview with The Marshall Democrat-News. "I have breeders coming to me with tears in their eyes, because that is what their family depends on."

Stouffer -- who represents Saline, Lafayette, Howard, Chariton, Cooper, Howard, Ray counties, along with a small portion in Clay County -- points out that by proposing the repeal he is representing the will of the voters in his district.

"When I looked at my Senate district, I have a couple counties that voted 80 percent against it. I think in Saline County it was 65 to 35 against it," he said. The only county he represents which voted for the law was Clay, where he serves a small portion of precincts. In pulling out just the voters he represents in Clay, the vote was close to 50-50 on the issue, he said.

"So I feel like I am representing the folks that elected me."

According to Stouffer, proponents of the legislation, which included the Humane Society of the United States, an animal rights advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., spent $4.5 million on advertising, including a strong television ad campaign in the metropolitan areas.

Those against the legislation, which included the Missourians for Animal Care coalition, spent approximately $120,000. Their campaign relied heavily on social media, word of mouth and local speakers.

Some opponents of Prop B have said the obvious split in voting, where some rural districts voted up to 90 percent against the issue, shows that "city voters" were swayed by the heart-tugging advertisements, instead of studying the issue, according to Stouffer.

Early polls had indicated that when first told of the issue, Missouri voters were 91 percent in favor of the legislation, said Stouffer.

"(But) It passed by less than 2 percent. That tells me the more people were informed, the more they realized this was a bad law," said Stouffer, who spent time in his district speaking against the law before the vote.

The new legislative session begins on Jan. 5, but Stouffer isn't under any illusions that this will be an easy fight.

"I think we will definitely get it altered," he said. "My impression is that if every legislator voted the way their district voted it would (be repealed)."

According to proponents of the bill however, the bill passed in 18 of 34 state Senate districts, and in a majority of House districts as well.

"The HSUS has already hired four lobbyists and this will be a donnybrook," Stouffer said.

Contact Marcia Gorrell at mgorrell@marshallnews.com

Missourians for the protection of dogs
Missourians for Animal Care coalition
Wayne Pacelle to Farm Bureau
Election map
Map of US. animal breeders and Missouri together
Proposition B ballot language

In the original version of this story, the percentage of votes against Prop B was given as 49.4 rather than 48.4 percent. Return to corrected paragraph

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The factory fundraising machine of HSUS is taking advantage of hard working americans who think their money helps dogs and cats. Wonder how many thought there money might actually help a real dog be saved from an animal shelter instead of a political agenda to end all animal ownership. If dog breeders and "poor whittle farmers" were getting so rich off dogs how come they spent $120,000 to the $4.5 million HSUS spent? Things that make you go HMMM? Also if the dogs are so sick who would buy them? If a restaurant is poor enough that people get sick it would soon be out of business whether it serves 50 or 1000. That is a simple fact of running a business. If you don't do a good job, you don't have a business long. Your arguments don't make sense about the already licensed breeders and the rural people who actually know people who raise animals saw right through the emotional fake advertising. Nuff said.

-- Posted by babygotback on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 9:59 PM

Look, it is no secret that many of the dog farms in Missouri are hell holes. If the rest of you in the breeding industry had any self respect at all you would want professional standards and a respectible industry. Sticking with the restaurant comparison above, if a restaurant poisons people they get in real trouble. But puppy mills breed and sell sick dogs ALL THE TIME and get away with it. Some are incubating disease that emerges shortly. Many more are harboring genetic time bombs from your despicable breeding practices. Like most industries, the issue is not what you do, but how you do it. And Missouri, sadly, does it poorly much of the time. If you wanted specifics in the law, you could have / should have cooperated in writing it. When the wind is blowing towards change, any halfway intelligent and honest business person gets in front of the change, rather than being drug along behind. It's clear what the breeders in Missouri are from your comments and your campaigns against this measure. And oh, so sad that those "rich" and "powerful" animal rights people just ran over your poor wittle farmers. Dog breeding is a rich and powerful industry that sells dogs by the thousands for big bucks. Nonprofits, even HSUS, raises money from hard working Americans at an average of about $25 per person. You just got whupped because the voters knew you are wrong, wrong, wrong on this measure. The way dog breeding happens in this country is way outside our American values. Clean it up, and you will be fine. Otherwise, all of us little people will collaborate to keep coming after your powerful and wretched industry.

-- Posted by glebec on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 12:19 PM

Here's my biggest problem with this proposition - artificial limitation on free enterprise. The 50-dog limit is like telling a restaurant they can only sell 100 dinners a day.

Another major problem with this is that there is no means of bringing the 'off-the-radar' unlicensed breeders back onto the radar. There is no incentive to comply and register, and no expansion of funding for enforcement, just more rules for the enforcers to try to apply.

When an unlicensed breeder is found, there is plenty of ammo to shut them down, but there was plenty of ammo before. What does this improve?

-- Posted by TerryM on Wed, Jan 5, 2011, at 1:54 PM

Will one of you breeders that is having a hissy fit please tell me what the problem is. You say we already have these laws and you already follow the rules. They why would prop B bankrupt you? Every time I try to get a straight answer - what EXACTLY is your problem - I get some goop about the HSUS and how they don't want us to eat meat or have pets and what is to come with other livestock in the future or gay rights in California (?) and bla bla bla. Well thank you so much for worrying about all of this for all of us but how is THAT going to bankrupt YOU? Is the issue what may come because of this bill or that it is going to bankrupt you? What exactly are these crybabies that are going to the senator going to have to spend SO MUCH MONEY on that it will put them out of business? My God, if that is the case what do those kennels look like now? Frightening. If the voters didn't do their research and don't understand what's going on then INFORM US. Try opening your doors and educating us as to what a great job you are doing with these dogs. Hang a "Welcome" sign on those run down sheds and windowless hidden out-buildings instead of a "no tresspassing" sign and let us see just how great you treat your precious babies. You're in business so set hours for visits to your kennels. Put the dogs up by the road instead of back in the woods. Let us all see what good care you take of them. I double-dog dare you! And what's really bad is yes, the law is wrong. And you guys have made such a bad name for yourselves it passed anyway! Now we all have a crappy new law because the voters of MO were willing to take anything - whatever they could get - if it even had a small chance of stopping some of you. You should really be ashamed, and judging by the way you hide your dogs and kennels - you are. And now you're "crying" to your senator? Spare me. You did this to yourselves. Shame on you senator what's-your-name for even playing like what you're doing is right.

-- Posted by 4themutts on Tue, Jan 4, 2011, at 3:38 AM

SS - Don't you find it interesting that the more dog breeders in a county, the more they voted against this. The highest yes votes were in the inner cities. Or in other words the more they knew about the real issue, the less they were swayed by the $4.5 million worth of heart wrentching false advertisements. Hollywood or not, I would be against any vote won by emotion and $$$ rather than raw facts. There is too much of that in the legislature as it is. And before you say it, if "Big Ag" and puppy breeders were so rich and so powerful, how come they couldn't afford the advertising the HSUS did?

-- Posted by babygotback on Mon, Jan 3, 2011, at 9:21 PM

This is NOT a concern of rural Missourians, alone. Those in the cities are concerned about it, also. Neither vote should outweigh the other. We all pay taxes and we all should know that our vote counts. The majority vote passed Prop B and now, as w/ the others in the past, sore-losers want to nullify it.

And being a member of the NRA or not, is not the point...It appears to have gone over your head; the fact is, when "Hollywood" helps us further this or that cause; (& if it is OUR cause), then it's acceptable. We must acknowledge that because of it's benefits, the perks of having friends in high places, cannot be denied. We learn that lesson early-on in life.

-- Posted by mFromSweetSprings on Mon, Jan 3, 2011, at 8:43 PM

At least there are some intelligent people on this forum who are asking legitimate questions. The problem is where to begin as there are so many things wrong with Prop B.

#1 - What other business do you know of that is licensed but when found to be in violation of health codes is found guilty of of a Class C misdemeanor? Shouldn't this also apply to restaurants where human safety is of concern? But the restaurant business is only fined (as are licensed breeders with the opportunity to correct the violation through ACFA). Prop B goes much further and makes a criminal out of the violator so that you now have a criminal record. And if found to have more than one violation (which can happen very easily in one inspection) all of a sudden you are now charged with Class A misdemeanors. Your kennel license will be revoked and that is the end of your business.

So in essence, breeders are made into criminals.

#2 - Yes, when looked at the requirements of vet care, food, water and shelter, Prop B does not look bad. The problem is we already have ACFA on the books and covers all of this in more depth and in writing with the breeder's vet signing off on it. Violate any of this in Prop B and you are a criminal.

#3 - Can you point out a business here in Missouri that we tell them they can only produce or sale a specified amount of product and they have to make their living off of that amount? This is what is happening when we restrict breeders to 50 dogs. We are actually restricting their rights to property ownership. Be very careful because your business could be next.

#4 - In Prop B you will find this definition: "Pet" means any domesticated animal normally maintained in or near the household of the owner thereof.

What is near? Is it 5 feet? Is it 1/2 mile? Not only is there the problem with the definition of near but if Prop B is supposed to be about dogs why is "domesticated animal" in this definition and not "Canis lupus familiaris" or dog???? Anyone with any logic math will know that the largest grouping of animals is animal itself. Next this group is broken down into domesticated and non-domesticated (wild). Under domesticated would be the groupings of livestock and pets then they would have their own subcategories.

So through this definition in this criminal law that restricts personal property and restricts business production we now have livestock being classified as pets. Further, we are rewriting the logically math and the groupings of animals as all domesticated animals are now pets which precludes that livestock are now pets.

Need I say more? But the animal rights people will swear Prop B is only about dogs and puppy mills. Can anyone tell me how Prop B will stop illegal breeders who do not follow the law and are not licensed so are not on the radar? Prop B does not provide for any funding of inspectors (thank goodness ACFA does). No, Prop B is out to stop legally, licensed commercial businesses that follow the law, pay taxes and support our economy.

But, hey, who cares? WE DO! The animal rights groups will not get away with this law like they have in other states where nothing has stopped the dogs being killed in the shelters by the AR groups and nothing has stopped the illegal breeders.

-- Posted by spcpo on Mon, Jan 3, 2011, at 7:56 PM

WTF - if we give the responsibility for watching over dog breeding operations to the local Conservation Agent, who is going to enforce hunting, fishing, & trapping laws and regulations?

More rules means more personnel for enforcement activities, which means more money. When is HSUS going to buck up to the state to help pay for this 'citizen' initiative they bought and paid for?

One of the problems with this thing is the artificial limit on the size of any breeding operation. One person may not be able to properly care for and socialize the output of 50 breeding dogs, but there is NOTHING that allows more dogs if there are more people involved. In education, you have student-teacher ratios, not limits on the size of schools. With this, you can't have a breeding operation using 10 people to care for 100 dogs (a 10 to 1 ratio of dogs to people). You are stuck at a maximum of 50 dogs. This is plainly BAD LAW and should be repealed!

-- Posted by TerryM on Mon, Jan 3, 2011, at 3:55 PM

Here's a thought since we have an inadequate number of inspectors to enforce this new law.

Doesn't every county have one or more conservation agent? If so, who knows a particular county and what may be going on better than a conservation agent? Maybe they should be granted the powers needed to conduct these onsite inspectons?

-- Posted by What the f...... on Mon, Jan 3, 2011, at 2:29 PM

This is just a humane law. I live in St.Louis and we have recieved over 2200 animals just this past year. These were rescued from puppy mills and animal horders in Missouri. This may seem like it is no big deal but put your pet in the condition that some of thise animals were in when rescued and it would make you sick.

-- Posted by Tontonnii on Mon, Jan 3, 2011, at 9:19 AM

cahman8 posted several requirements of the bill. They seem very appropriate to me. Someone explain what is not appropriate.

-- Posted by izaak on Sun, Jan 2, 2011, at 9:49 PM
Response by Marcia Gorrell/Staff writer:
Today's story, just posted, explains some of the pros and cons some see between the old law and this law.

I don't understand how this bill could hurt any legitimate business.

(1) Sufficient food and clean water;

(2) Necessary veterinary care;

(3) Sufficient housing, including protection from the elements;

(4) Sufficient space to turn and stretch freely, lie down, and fully extend his or her limbs;

(5) Regular exercise; and

(6) Adequate rest between breeding cycles.

4. 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.

These requirements seem like only the bare necessities needed to properly take care of an animal.

Read the whole thing here. http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2010peti...

-- Posted by cahman8 on Sun, Jan 2, 2011, at 9:34 PM

Please someone explain specifically the parts of the bill that arenot practical.The only ones Ihave heard are that a dog has to be checked by a Veterinarian each year and each dog has to have a minimum of so much space. These seem like reasonable requirements.

-- Posted by izaak on Sun, Jan 2, 2011, at 9:34 PM


-- Posted by yank on Sun, Jan 2, 2011, at 5:33 PM

mrxray, it doesn't happen "all the time". It's not as often as that. And my point was that people aren't going to bother to vote if they see that their vote wasn't so important and that the final outcome can be so easily disregarded. We have a large amount of voter apathy already and I hate to see it grow even larger.

mFromSweetSprings, you have a point.

-- Posted by AnneD on Sun, Jan 2, 2011, at 1:20 PM

Sweet Springs--Many many of us in Missouri are members of the NRA, however you would be hard pressed to find folks in rural Missouri that would be members of HSUS--AND let it be known--back to you!!!

-- Posted by farmerwife on Sun, Jan 2, 2011, at 10:01 AM

I wonder if the people who passed the law against "puppy mills" would pass a parallel law against "people mills" like K.C. and St. Louis?

-- Posted by Ray on Sun, Jan 2, 2011, at 3:44 AM

When the NRA campaigned for the passage of the conceal/carry law and used "hollywood types" and others who were not Missourians... THAT was okay...but, this isn't? Hypocrites!!

-- Posted by mFromSweetSprings on Sat, Jan 1, 2011, at 11:46 PM

I am glad we still have a few legislaters with some sence!! When I got two recordings on my phone and another in person since they were only getting my recorder and it was Betty White, I knew Hollywood influence, Hollywood money and HSUS were at it again. Please understand this is only the beginning folks--if the HSUS has it's way there would eventually be no animal agriculture--this is only the beginning. I would hate to think our great state would put up with this--I too, believe that it was the emotional side of the issue that got the votes to pass Prop B in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas and these uninformed folks probably thought they were doing the right thing!!!!!

-- Posted by farmerwife on Sat, Jan 1, 2011, at 8:49 PM

LOL The democratic process is such that if a law is passed and then more information becomes known and the law is determined to have flaws, then there is a PROCESS that allows for the modification of the law or the rescinding of the law. IT happens all the time. THAT is the PROCESS.

It is funny to read the people who do agree with this law who say that since it was voted on then this should end the discussion. IS that not what happened in California? They voted on the gay marriage proposition that followed the state process for voting and passing a proposition. They voted against gay marriages with a majority. HOWEVER, they are also trying to fight that law in court and trying to get new votes and all sorts of things...

If we use the logic that once a vote has occured then all argument or desire to change the outcome must end then California must stop fighting the outcome of the gay marriage vote right?

-- Posted by mrxray on Sat, Jan 1, 2011, at 8:42 PM

REPEAL! Prop B will cost Missouri thousands of jobs, destroy many small businesses, cost millions in lost revenues, and still will not do ANYTHING to curb illegal, unlicensed breeders. It was an HSUS LIE from the start, and it should be repealed!

-- Posted by ptbamdb on Sat, Jan 1, 2011, at 5:40 PM

any time a group pushes for enactment of legislation that they themselves are exempt from, it's a bad idea.

as for one man repealing the law, it's not one man, it's the elected representatives of the people of missouri. if indeed most of the state does think this law should remain on the books, they will let their representatives and senators know that, and it will. if mr. stouffer hadn't put the bill on the table, someone else would have.

-- Posted by Reader101 on Sat, Jan 1, 2011, at 3:52 PM

This is a bad law in general for any dog enthusiast. If the pages of care and animal cruelty laws that Missouri already has in place weren't good enough, I could never understand why shelters and rescues were exempt??

If they had not been exempt from the changes Propisition B imposed, would it have still passed?

Setting number limits and imposing strict guidelines on kennel size does not and will not prevent cruelty to dogs and only hurts people who cared enough to obtain a Missouri dog breeding license in the first place.

If a person was of the opinion that they just wanted dog breeding banned altogether, I think Prop B is a step in the right direction. By years end, if the licensed breeders comply, no one will be able to find a healthy small dog very easily or for a reasonable price. Looks like the breeders will be the city folk who fill the pounds with large breed mixes. Not really everyones type of dog.

-- Posted by blackdog on Sat, Jan 1, 2011, at 1:13 PM

Why can't we all just get along " Happy New Year "

-- Posted by JstMaybe on Sat, Jan 1, 2011, at 11:51 AM

Generally speaking, I feel MOST yes-voters were NOT aware of what Proposition B actually was or of the consequences that would ensue. They were lied to, fooled by the emotional and deceptive HSUS commercials. I would think that most Missourians really would not like to see the legal, licensed dog breeders go out of business and the illegal puppy mills thrive.

Of course, there are always the die-hard animal rights believers and HSUS' puppets, who don't want to see another dog or cat born, and probably wish dog breeders would all get AIDS and die. Radical animal rights activists aside, most Missourians would have voted NO if they had been told the TRUTH from the beginning.

HSUS lied and paid millions for Proposition B. It should be repealed and HSUS should be run out of our state!

-- Posted by ptbamdb on Sat, Jan 1, 2011, at 2:26 AM

We were not duped; I read and complete understood the bill. I do not want a public/legal vote on this issue overturned. The Missouri Legislature has a history of this....they "allow" the entire state to vote on an issue; then nullify it when it doesn't meet with their approval. As for the "shallow emotions" the laws writers, you underestimate the knowledge of those who voted for it. You've NO idea what knowledge I have concerning dog's well-being or what dealings with puppy mills I've had over the years, so kindly don't assume I was overpowered by the persuasion of "liberals" and then voted in favor of it. When did the right thing become a Republican/Liberal issue? I'm sick and tired of this!! Proposition B isn't just for a few to agree with, it was approved by the majority of Missourians and to have the Legislature attempt to dismiss it, is unforgivable!!

-- Posted by mFromSweetSprings on Sat, Jan 1, 2011, at 1:34 AM

Gee, the reason why the process of allowing legislators to amend or repeal the voters' initiatives is necessary is because big business (in this case, HSUS) can buy an election with their millions in false and misleading advertising, fooling the voters into a mess they really don't want. Now that they realize they were LIED TO because the law only affects the licensed breeders, NOT the puppymills, they are changing their minds. Thank goodness for our legislators who will save us from unintended consequences!

-- Posted by ptbamdb on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 9:07 PM

Isn't this the same state that went overwhelmingly Republican the last election...on all levels? This wasn't a liberal issue, or the Republicans would have carried this issue as well.

Anyway, this is the same guy that thought we ought to be able to hunt wild game from withing city limits.

-- Posted by Interested Too on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 8:40 PM

Remember the children's song "sticks & stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"? Grow a thicker skin and do what is right. Why is there a question about MASS PRODUCTION of dogs any way? Puppy mills are wrong and should be abolished (like slavery).

-- Posted by chrimurr on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 8:12 PM

"nonnymous" He does not deserve respect, he is trying to repeal a law that was passed by MAJORITY vote. I am not saying I agree with the law but the MAJORITY of Missouri residents where for it. How is it right for ONE man to repeal a law that thousands of people voted for???

-- Posted by tigger2118 on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 7:52 PM

What is it with lefties always passing laws, telling other people how to live their lives?

-- Posted by Ray on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 7:48 PM

It's often said, "As California goes so goes the nation." It looks like social engineering is at work again. Before the left is finished MO will be full of vegetarian, PETA clones. Pretty soon, MO will be paying to bail out that bankrupt state if the left has their way.

"West Hollywood Puts the Bite on Puppy Mills and Kitty Factories"

"A socially liberal enclave surrounded by the city of Los Angeles, West Hollywood has long held a reputation as a trailblazer in animal welfare rights." http://tinyurl.com/2e8aevw

-- Posted by Ray on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 7:44 PM

What is it with right wingers always wanting to repeal laws they dont agree with?

-- Posted by cheesehead on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 7:42 PM

The legislation is based on the shallow emotions of people who know little or nothing of breeding operations. Most of the information presented to the voters was little more than emotional propaganda. Sure, there might be bad breeders, but most are good, conscientious people. If you don't want puppies, don't buy them and then the breeders will not persist.

Bill is a good man who works hard to represent his constituents. He deserves our thanks and support for not bowing down to the mindless anti-everything crowd.

-- Posted by Nonnymus on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 5:48 PM

ENFORCEMENT! The old law would have controlled the issue were enough inspectors hired. The new law with more restrictions will face the same problem. Abuses will not cease until sufficient inspectors are hired. Is that going to happen? I doubt it. Money, money, money.

I don't look for the new law to be struck down. It will survive. I do see the new law being ineffectual.

Think about weigh stations up and down the highway. Every time I see one with the closed sign on it, I wonder why we bother to have the laws concerning big trucks. Why are they not staffed and open all the time? Money.

-- Posted by red dog on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 5:11 PM

I agree with tigger. The people have spoken.

There have been years when I voted for a certain candidate and people from another area or state overrode that vote and voted someone in I did not vote for or want. But that person was still my elected official because of majority vote.

As this should be. It's the Democratic way. Why have elections if officials are going to repeal those decisions?

-- Posted by AnneD on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 4:19 PM

I agree with "raysfan" the people voted this in. Like it or not, why should ONE man who doesn't agree with it try and repeal it??

-- Posted by tigger2118 on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 3:59 PM

As long as we're re-voting, let's vote on Stouffer's seat too.

-- Posted by raysfan on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 1:33 PM

Wishing something like AIDS onto a family just goes to show how the extreme liberals want to force people to do what they want rather than allow for personal choice....look at the health care bill...etc....

God help us all....

-- Posted by Dave in MidMO on Fri, Dec 31, 2010, at 12:17 PM

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