Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Missouri Proposition B draws snarls

  •   Proposition B has both sides howling.


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  • Proposition B has both sides howling.
    The ballot proposal, which Missouri voters will consider next Tuesday, would require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide sufficient care for animals, ban operators from having more than 50 breeding dogs and create a misdemeanor for violations.
    Animals rights groups petitioned to put the measure before voters. A simple majority is required for passage.
    Supporters of Proposition B maintain that existing laws are not adequate and that new regulations are needed to end what they call Missouri’s reputation as being the “puppy mill capital” of America.
    “Current Missouri law has not been sufficient in stopping puppy mills,” said Jeane Jae of the Humane Society of Missouri, which urges passage of Proposition B. “We are not opposed to commercial dog breeding. We are opposed to substandard puppy mills that aren’t taking care of their animals.”
    Opponents say existing rules are sufficient for law-abiding breeders and worry that there’s a hidden agenda behind the proposition that could lead to greater government regulation of farm animals.
    “This only targets those who are licensed and legal and abiding by current laws,” said Karen Strange of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association, which urges defeat of Proposition B. “This will have a lot of unintended consequences. Among those is the elimination of legal breeders while doing nothing to stop illegal operations.”
    While the ballot language deals with dogs, opponents fear the measure could open the door to strict controls of livestock farms and the agriculture industry.
    Strange said the Humane Society of Missouri has “a proven track record” of support for increased rigidity when it comes to animal care laws. She said many people, especially those in urban areas, do not “understand the animal rights movement and its threat.”
    “I know what they’re up to,” said Strange, who has been involved in the debate for two decades.
    Jae said supporters have no hidden agenda, and that it’s “absurd” to think that Proposition B would lead to anything else. Jae has been on many rescues at substandard kennels over the last six years and said it’s “heartbreaking that those animals are forced to live in” such conditions.
    “This proposition has nothing to do with livestock agriculture,” Jae said. “It has everything to do with dogs in large commercial facilities, and that’s it.”
    The state estimates that government entities would experience a one-time cost of almost $655,000 if Proposition B passes, and ongoing costs of more than $520,000.
    Missouri’s 1,449 commercial dog breeders already must have both federal and state licenses, and their facilities are subject to regular inspections. The site reviews generally are done once a year.

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