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.”
The ASPCA wishes to thank our supporters all over the country for helping us advocate for Proposition B to your friends and family in Missouri. We will continue to cover this development and its nationwide implications in the coming days—to make sure you don’t miss a thing, please sign up to receive the ASPCA’s fun and informative weekly email newsletter.