Missourians for the Protection of Dogs / YES! on Prop B is a citizen-sponsored, state ballot initiative to save tens of thousands of dogs from suffering in cruel conditions in puppy mills, the high-volume dog breeding facilities where dogs are inhumanely bred under harsh conditions with inadequate shelter and care. In four months, our organization gathered more than 190,000 signatures of registered Missouri voters to place a measure on the November 2010 statewide ballot, giving Missouri citizens the opportunity to end some of the worst abuses at puppy mills.
The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act is a measure that will improve the lives of dogs in commercial breeding operations in Missouri. Specifically, the measure will require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each breeding dog under their care with the basics of humane animal care including:
Sufficient food and clean water;
Necessary veterinary care;
Sufficient housing, including protection from the elements;
Sufficient space to turn and stretch freely, lie down, and fully extend their limbs;
Regular exercise; and
Adequate rest between breeding cycles.
The measure will limit the number of breeding dogs to 50 per facility, but does not apply to breeders with 10 or fewer intact female dogs. The 50 breeding dog limit will help ensure the operations do not become overcrowded or spiral out of control, but will still allow individual breeders to sell hundreds of puppies each year. The initiative does not affect individuals who raise hunting dogs, livestock facilities, or animal rescue and shelter operators that are not involved in commercial sale of puppies. The law will enable Missouri to join several other states that have enacted similar laws through their state legislatures.
?The nationwide exposure of puppy mills has jolted the American conscience,? said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. ?Missourians are tremendous dog lovers and they want to see dogs protected from the abuses on puppy mills, such as lifetime confinement in small, wire cages, stacked one on top of another that do not even allow animals to stretch their legs or even touch solid ground.?
?The Humane Society of Missouri has seen first-hand the unspeakable cruelty and atrocious conditions of substandard puppy mills. Often living in their own waste, many of the thousands of dogs we?ve rescued from substandard puppy mills suffer from eye, ear and respiratory infections, parasites and malnutrition. Sadly, many also are ?cage crazy? spinning endlessly in small cages they are never allowed to leave,? said Kathy Warnick, president of HSMO. ?We believe Missourians do not wish these horrendous situations to continue in our state. We support this and any effort that protects dogs from inhumane treatment and abuse.?
?While dogfighting and other bloodsports often dominate headlines, puppy mills are just as insidious a form of animal cruelty,? said Ed Sayres, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. ?This joint effort and ballot initiative is a crucial step in combating the horrific cruelty perpetuated by many commercial breeders. This measure will provide man?s best friend the opportunity to breathe fresh air and feel sunlight on their face; meeting these very fundamental needs should be unquestioned.?
?Missouri citizens are not proud of the reputation the state has earned as ?puppy mill capital of the United States.? and they want to see the laws strengthened,? according to Ginger Steinmetz, executive director of the MO Alliance for Animal Legislation. ?The improved standards of care described in this measure will mean less suffering for thousands of adult breeding dogs which currently spend their entire lives in wire cages. As the leading puppy-producing state, Missouri should also lead the nation when it comes to the conditions under which puppies are bred for sale in pet stores throughout the nation and the world.?
?It is clearly time for the inhumane horrors and cruelty of puppy mills to be purged from this country,? said Gregory Castle, CEO, Best Friends Animal Society. ?Because there are so many puppy mills in the state, Missouri?s ballot initiative can lead to laws that will play a major role in saving thousands of lives, and ending this unspeakable travesty.?
Missouri is home to an estimated 3,000 puppy mills, breeding hundreds of thousands of puppies, far more than any other state in the country. Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction, and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life. Dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles. Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog?s health, genetic history or future welfare.
Missourians for the Protection of Dogs / YES! on Prop B is comprised of numerous individuals and animal welfare organizations, including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Best Friends Animal Society, and The Humane Society of the United States.