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"Puppy mill" ballot measure advocates and opponents speak out

(Humane Society of the United States)
Facility of Beverly Fields, B & B Kennel, of Galt Missouri. Fields is a MoFed PAC contributor and puppy mill operator with more than 150 dogs and puppies as of Oct 2009, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

By Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

ST. LOUIS – Proponents of tougher laws regulating Missouri puppy mills are stepping up their media campaign to reach Missouri voters.

According to a report from the Humane Society, Missouri produces 40 percent of all puppies sold in the United States.

Wayne Pacelle is President of Humane Society of the United States. Pacelle said that Proposition B would help insure bad dog breeders are closed down.

"When you have a mom and pop operation, a two-person operation, caring for 800 or 1000 dogs at these puppy mills, you see why the animals never get out of the cage, why they never get any vet care," Pacelle said, "The mothers are breeding machines and the puppies are a cash crop."

Prop B would prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets.

Opponents of the measure, like Karen Strange, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Federation of Animal owners, said that Prop B unfairly targets responsible breeders.

Strange said that elements of Prop B, such as limiting the number of breeding dogs to 50, would only harm licensed breeders, and encourage bad operations to remain secret.

"Proposition B is nothing more than more government regulation on an already heavily-regulated industry," Strange said. "It does nothing to help animals, but instead will drive out a regulated, legal licensed industry."

The United States Humane Society recently published a report on 12 Missouri puppy mills that are licensed, which they feel are cruel and inhumane.

Both St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley support Prop B.


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