Fed up with their state’s well-deserved reputation as the Puppy Mill Capital of America, Missourians hit the polls on Election Day to declare that enough is enough! Last night, voters in the Show Me State passed the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, which appeared on their ballots as Proposition B, by a margin of approximately 60,000 votes. It is an incredible victory, and one we hope will send a strong message to the governments of other states—namely, that the public wants better conditions and more compassion for puppy mill dogs.
The new Missouri law, which becomes effective in one year, ensures that dogs who spend their entire lives breeding puppies at these large-scale facilities receive basic, humane care. It requires dogs to be provided with sufficient food and clean water, regular veterinary care, adequate housing and space, and access to regular exercise. Temperature parameters for kennels will be established to ensure that dogs are warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and female dogs will get adequate resting time between breeding cycles. And with passage of Proposition B, Missouri becomes the fifth state—joining Louisiana, Oregon, Virginia and Washington—to create a limit on the number of intact, adult breeder dogs a commercial dog breeder may keep.
In no other state were the stakes higher for puppy mill dogs. Missouri’s weak, confusing laws regulating commercial kennels have made it a haven for substandard breeders. The ASPCA has participated in many raids and rescues at Missouri puppy mills, and we have seen firsthand the unspeakably heartbreaking and inferior conditions to which these dogs are subjected.
Home to one-third of all the commercial dog breeding facilities in the U.S. (no other state even comes close), Missouri supplies more than 40 percent of all dogs sold in pet stores nationwide. No matter where you live, there’s a good chance that the puppies in the window of your local pet store came from a Missouri puppy mill. Implementation of the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act will provide welcome relief to tens of thousands of adult breeding dogs—not to mention the approximately one million puppies born in Missouri kennels every year.
“Yesterday’s passage of Proposition B reflects a landmark achievement in the ongoing fight against animal cruelty,” says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “We are proud to have worked diligently on this campaign, and we celebrate this victory alongside the caring citizens of Missouri. The ASPCA is committed to working with local animal welfare groups to help breeders transition to the new humane standards and find loving homes for any displaced Missouri breeding dogs.”
On Thursday, October 21, a federal judge ruled against the ASPCA when he declined to issue an injunction preventing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from continuing its inhumane and illegal roundup of wild horses from Colorado's North Piceance herd area. The ASPCA, along with Habitat for Horses, the Cloud Foundation, Dr. Don Moore and Toni Moore, brought the case against U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and other officials. The suit alleged that the BLM's actions violate the National Environmental Protection Act and the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
In spite of his ultimate decision, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley did acknowledge that Dr. Don Moore, a Colorado veterinarian who has known the Piceance-North Douglas Herd for decades, and Toni Moore would suffer irreparable harm from the roundup of the herd.
"While we are disappointed by Thursday's ruling, we are encouraged by the Court's acknowledgment that the removal of these iconic horses impacts all Americans," says Matt Bershadker, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty. Jerry Finch, founder and president of Habitat for Horses, elaborates: "Although we did not get the win that we were aiming for, we stood fast and got the court to agree that damage is done to American citizens when the BLM pulls our wild mustangs from their rightful land. That is huge."
The day after the ruling, the BLM announced that it had completed the contested Colorado roundup and gathered 73 wild horses, most of whom will be up for adoption.
For more information on the BLM's mismanagement of America's wild horses, please visit ASPCA.org.
The ASPCA is currently on the ground in St. Clair County, MO, where we are managing the removal and transfer of 34 dogs from a puppy mill. The dogs were relinquished to Half-way Home Pet Rescue, the organization that originally contacted the ASPCA for assistance with the transfer. This rescue marks the third time in one week that the ASPCA has been contacted to help transfer dogs and puppies from Missouri puppy mills—as well as private residences—where owners have failed to provide adequate care for their animals.
"These incidents reinforce the need for Missourians to vote 'yes' on Proposition B," says Tim Rickey, the ASPCA's Senior Director of Field Investigations and Response. Also known as the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, Prop B aims to raise the standards of care for dogs in Missouri's more than 3,000 commercial breeding facilities, which export more than 40 percent of all dogs sold in pet stores nationwide. If passed, Prop B would require Missouri's large-scale breeders to limit the number of breeding females to 50, as well as enact common-sense standards such as requiring dogs to be provided with sufficient food and clean water, regular veterinary care, adequate housing and space, and access to regular exercise.
"Current Missouri regulations concerning puppy mills are not being enforced properly because they are vague, complicated and confusing,"says Kyle Held, the ASPCA's Midwest Director of Field Investigations and Response and team leader of the recent Missouri rescues."Breeding operations in clear violation of existing laws have been able to stay in business or regain their licenses after being cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If Prop B passes, it will provide clear standards for the care of the dogs—and give local law enforcement officials the ability to enforce them.";
We Need Your Help!
The ASPCA strongly urges Missouri citizens to vote YES! on Prop B and transform your state from the puppy mill capital of the United States to a national leader in puppy mill reform.
Don't live in Missouri, but still want to help? Please support puppy mill dogs by posting this article on your Facebook page or blog, or by visiting www.yesonpropb.com.
With the help of astute observers and anonymous tips, the ASPCA is cracking down on cat abuse in the Big Apple. On October 13, the ASPCA arrested Brooklyn resident Tiffany Feliciano for neglecting her nine-month-old kitten, Marty. The very next day, our Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrested Davanand Raghunath for allegedly starving his cat in Queens.
When ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agent Paul Lai arrived at Feliciano’s apartment, he discovered an emaciated, dehydrated, black-and-white kitten in a filthy cage without food. Marty was immediately transported to the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, where he received life-saving medical care.
The following day, ASPCA Special Agent Debbie Ryan arrested Davanand Raghunath after finding a starving, flea-infested orange Tabby in the basement of his store in Ozone Park. The seven-year-old cat, Leo, also received emergency medical treatment from ASPCA veterinarians. Both Leo and Marty are now in stable condition and recovering from starvation and skin inflammation, a secondary result of flea infestation.
Feliciano and Raghunath were each charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty and are scheduled to appear in court. If convicted, they face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Do you know the signs of animal abuse? Read our handy guide to recognizing animal cruelty. If you see an animal being neglected or hurt, please don’t keep it to yourself. If you live in New York City, please contact the ASPCA's anonymous tip line at (877) THE-ASPCA. To see how to report cruelty in other locations nationwide, visit ASPCA.org.
Last week we introduced you to wacky pet crusader Joey Henry of HelpJoey.com, whose straightforward approach to ending pet overpopulation is causing quite the stir. Simply put, Joey’s on a mission to stop cats and dogs from having sex!
We’re the first to admit we had our doubts about Joey’s “stop chasing tail” campaign, but his series of slapstick video escapades continue to generate buzz—and for good reason, they’re really weird and funny!
Recently launched on his Facebook page, Joey’s latest web-flick is a parody of the A&E hit Intervention. In a pseudo-therapist role, Joey sternly confronts an unaltered pooch, Scruffy, about his unabashed addiction to sex. Sound a bit bizarre? Maybe—but we certainly couldn’t stop laughing.
All jokes aside, this maverick deserves a round of applause for tackling such a serious issue with humor and heart—but the question remains, does Joey really understand the spay/neuter message? And more importantly, can he handle this mission on his own?
Everyone could use a little support—perhaps we’ll give him a call.
Check out Joey’s latest video escapade on Facebook—and see for yourself what the buzz is all about.