On September 21, the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team in conjunction with the Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO) removed 71 dogs from an overrun puppy mill in Camden County, MO. The dogs—which include Dachshunds, Maltese, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Huskies and Boxers—were transferred to the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri in Springfield and HSMO in St. Louis, where they received medical treatment and will be cared for until they're ready for adoption.
"This case was unique in that the dogs were voluntarily relinquished by the kennel owner who could no longer afford to feed them," explains Tim Rickey, ASPCA Senior Director of Field Investigations and Response. Last week the mill owner contacted a local rescue group, Half-way Home Pet Rescue in Cedar County, for help, and Half-way Home then reached out to the ASPCA.
"When breeders are no longer able to care for their animals, the problem lands squarely on the shoulders of local shelters," says Half-way Home's Latisha Duffy, who works closely with breeders in Missouri to find homes for retired breeding dogs.
Known as the "Puppy Mill Capital of America," Missouri is home to more than 3,000 commercial dog breeding facilities and provides more than 40 percent of all dogs sold in pet stores nationwide. "We see some of the worst conditions in Missouri puppy mills," explains Rickey. "The dogs, often very ill, are forced to live in overcrowded, filthy conditions."
In an effort to end the many cruelties associated with puppy mills, the ASPCA, a founding member of Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop. B, is supporting Proposition B, also known as the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act. This landmark measure, which will appear on Missouri's November ballot, promotes the humane treatment of dogs in the state's large-scale commercial dog kennels. If passed, Prop B would limit the number of breeding dogs to 50 per facility, and would require large-scale breeders to provide sufficient food, water and space for the animals under their care.
To learn how to extend your support for Proposition B, please visit our Puppy Mill section on ASPCA.org.