Voters narrowly approved the ballot measure last November, which limits dog breeders to 50 dogs per operation and requires adequate food, water and outdoor access.
The bill passed today would remove the 50-dog limit and replace the phrase "Puppy Mill Cruelty" with "Canine Cruelty" in the law's name. In place of criminal penalties, violators would be subject to civil lawsuits from county prosecutors and the Attorney General.
The sponsor, State Senator Mike Parson (R, Bolivar), says the bill would be even tougher than Proposition B on unlicensed breeders.
"This adds seven new enforcement officers to try to clean this industry up and do a better job of regulating it without punishing good people doing good things that are doing their business under all the laws of the state of Missouri," Parson said.
Opponents from both parties argued that they should uphold the will of the voters.
“The majority of us in this chamber, actually our constituents, said ‘yes, we want Proposition B,'" said State Senator Jolie Justus (D, Kansas City). "And I’m not one of those who thinks that our constituents are too stupid to know what they’re voting on...I think our constituents are very smart, and I think they understand and they knew what they were voting on.”
The bill passed 20 to 14, with the vote splitting mostly along urban and rural lines. It now goes to the Missouri House.