By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU and the Associated Press
St. Louis – Missouri Agriculture Director Jon Hagler said he will review a practice that allows dogs surrendered by unfit breeders to be auctioned rather than go to animal shelters.
Since January, he said the state has transferred more than 1,300 abused and neglected dogs from puppy mills to shelters such as the Humane Society.
But the state also arranges for some dogs to be sold at auction to other breeders.
Critics say that could compromise the animals' health. They also say bad breeders should not profit from the sale of their own confiscated dogs.
Hagler said the dispersal of dogs from unfit breeders is being decided on a case-by-case basis.
Meanwhile officials at the Humane Society say they're pleased with new efforts to crack down on unlicensed breeders.
The program, which Governor Jay Nixon calls Operation Bark Alert, is meant to standardize what happens after animals are seized and make sure the laws are enforced equally. President Kathy Warnick called it a welcome change in mindset.
"We have a much more proactive relationship occurring right now versus the previous administration, and as a result we feel that the substandard puppy mill problem in Missouri is going to be addressed," Warnick said.
Warnick said many of the animals, including 100 from a puppy mill in Daviess County, are available for adoption at the Humane Society in St. Louis.