Last week we told you how disappointed we are with the state of Missouri's so-called compromise agreement on puppy mill reform. Spearheaded by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, representatives from the dog breeding industry, and a few agriculture special-interest groups, the compromise falls far short of the provisions that Missouri voters approved just a few months ago.
The compromise removes many of the key provisions of Prop B, including the requirement that dogs get rest between breeding cycles as well as the limit on the number of breeding dogs a breeder may keep. It also removes the requirement for prompt veterinary treatment of an illness or injury, gives dogs less space in cages, and replaces criminal penalties for violations with civil penalties, except for repeat offenders.
Despite our disappointment, we are hopeful that the Missouri Department of Agriculture will adopt regulations that will improve the treatment of dogs at puppy mills. Over the next few months, we’ll watch closely to see if abuses in Missouri’s large-scale breeding facilities continue unabated. If the situation does not improve, we’ll consider another ballot initiative to restore Prop B’s standards.
The ASPCA is also joining other animal welfare groups in actively supporting the Voter Protection Act, a proposed constitutional amendment to require a three-fourths vote in both houses of the legislature, or a subsequent vote of the people, in order to repeal or amend any citizen-passed initiative in Missouri. The Voter Protection Act would provide constitutional protections for citizen ballot initiatives and prevent the will of the people from being discarded or overturned like it was with Prop B. This important piece of legislation would also mean any future ballot initiative on puppy mills in Missouri will have greater long-lasting protection.
For all the latest news about puppy mill reform, please stay tuned to ASPCA.org.