Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Missouri Puppy Mills Decline in Number | Fight Ahead

New report from Bob Baker, Executive Director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation (MAAL) has good news and bad news.  The good news: Missouri puppy mills have declined dramatically in number.  The bad news:  the puppy mill industry is fighting back.

Since the passage of the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act and with the cooperation from the Missouri Attonrney General's office, standards of care for dogs at commercial breeding facilities have improved.  Dogs now have increased living space, receive an annual veterinarian examination, no longer have to live on wire flooring, and have unfettered access to the outdoors.

In the past three years the number if inspectors of breeding facilities has increased from nine to twenty, including three veterinarians and two investigators.  

The number of inspections conducted by the Missouri Department of Agriculture per year has more than tripled.  

There are at least 50% less dogs in puppy mills in Missouri today than as recently as 2009.  The average number of dogs per mill has also declined as many dog breeders are downsizing due to the new regulations.

Unfortunately, the dog breeders and agricultural interests are fighting back and atenpting to repeal laws not only protecting puppy mill dogs, but all animals.

The Missouri House Appropriations - Agriculture Committee called a special hearing this past September to address the complaints from dog breeders about the new regulations and concerns over the recent closing of over 900 commercial breeders.  

It became clear during this hearing that some legislators are planning to introduce legislation to repeal or seriously weaken the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act in the upcoming legislative session.  Members of the Committee even threaten to weaken the original Animal Care Facilities Act passed in 1992.

On Representative went so far as to vow to eliminate all curre4nt regulations protecting farm animals in retribution for the closure of so many commercial dog breeders.  Meanwhile, another legislator has indicated that he will introduce legislation to eliminate the disposition process for abused and neglected animals.

The upcoming legislative session will be critical as MAAL and other animal advocates fight to continue efforts to protect animals in Missouri.

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