About 8 pm last night the phone rang. Another one of those computer automated calls. My immediate instinct was to hang up because this is Tea Party territory and we get a lot of political calls. But then I caught the subject matter: Prop B.
Prop B (formerly known as the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act) is a legislative initiative that will appear on Missouri's November ballot. It addresses humane standards in commercial breeding facilities. And in my opinion, it is long overdue.
Back to the phone call which was urging me to vote against Prop B. Yes, against it. According the recorded message, dog breeders in Missouri would be arrested if a crumb of dog food fell into a dog's water dish if Prop B passes.
40% of all pet store puppies come from Missouri puppy mills. Missouri has almost 3 times as many commercial breeders than any other state in our country. Missouri has earned the well deserved reputation as the Puppy Mill Capitol of the United States due to its many unsanitary, overcrowed, and poorly regulated commercial dog breeding facilities. According to a Missouri state audit report released in July 2008, the MO Department of Agriculture had failed to inspect 40% of the the state's known licensed commercial breeders as required by law.
If Prop B is passed by Missouri voters in November, here's what it will do. The new law will require large-scale breeding operations to provide each dog with adequate food, water, exercise, veterinary care, enclosure space, and protection from the elements. Wire cage flooring will no longer be allowed, and dogs will have free access to outdoor exercise areas.
While I write this I have one dog laying on my feet, another blocking my chair so I can't get up without notice, and another snoozing in the doorway of the room. Three dogs that are my constant companions and beloved family members. Not only am I in favor of Prop B, I don't think it does enough.