Monday, February 4, 2013

Missouri Puppy Mills: Dog Breeders Ordered to Provide Humane Care

A judge has denied the request presented by a group of Missouri dog breeders for a preliminary injunction and has ruled that dog breeders must continue to provide humane care.

I just received this news from the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation.  Some of the assertions by the dog breeders in this lawsuit were pretty unbelievable.  So, I'm re-printing straight from MAAL.  I've used bold and red to call your attention to some of the most shocking court statements.

"A group representing 83 dog breeders in the state of Missouri has brought a lawsuit in an effort to thwart the new regulations promulgating humane standards of care for dogs confined in puppy mills. These new regulations are the result of the passage of the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act in 2011. The breeders' group sought a temporary restraining order against the regulations and when that failed, they sought a hearing to argue for a preliminary injunction against the regulations. After the hearing on January 11, Judge Jon Beetem, of the Circuit Court of Cole County, dismissed the request for preliminary injunction but will allow the dog breeders to argue their case at trial later this year.
The rejection of the injunction is an important victory as it means that dog breeders will have to continue to comply with the regulations--some of which are due for enforcement at the end of January. An injunction would have permitted dog breeders to flaunt the new regulations and continue to deny breeding dogs access to the outdoors until the case is resolved later in the year. 

The hearing was quite telling about the commercial dog breeding industry in Missouri.
One breeder testified that when she was told she had to provide her dogs with access to the outdoors, she chose to kill them rather than comply with the new rule. She had her veterinarian euthanize 72 of them and proudly presented a photo of 25 dead dogs to the judge as evidence of how her business has been hurt since passage of the new law.
Another breeder in the courtroom audience stated that she also destroyed her dogs rather than comply with new rules and bragged that she only had to pay her vet $7 per dog to have them euthanized.

While some of the testimony was a tragic exposure of how dogs are exploited in the commercial dog breeding industry, some of the testimony proved farcical as the breeders and their representatives argued that they did not know what "constant" and "unfettered" access to the outdoors meant. They claimed that since the regulations did not define the terms, the breeders were left in the dark. One witness under cross examination by the attorney general's office was asked to read the definition of "constant" and "unfettered" from the dictionary. After reading the definition, the witness claimed that nowhere in the regulations did it say to refer to the dictionary for meaning of the words. He claimed not to know to use a dictionary for words he did not understand. He argued that "even words with defined meaning need further clarification from the Department of Agriculture."  

Another breeder testified that her dogs cannot be outside as they are too excitable and the excitement of being outside could kill them. She said she could not risk them being outside as a car might backfire or children might walk by her yard. Any excitement could cause them to die. This, of course, raises the question as to whether she informs her customers that the puppies she is selling are restricted to indoor use only for their entire life and can never go outside even to relieve themselves. This breeder testified that "outside air causes loss of ventilation" for dogs. She alleged that six dogs died of heatstroke and excitability when she tried an outdoor exercise plan. 

The breeders argued that dogs do not need access to sunlight and even expressed objection to providing extra bedding to dogs housed outside in winter weather claiming they did not know what "extra bedding" meant. The breeders also argued against the requirement for heavy duty tarps for windbreaks for dogs housed outside.
An Assistant Attorney General summed it up well for the judge when he asserted that dogs are simply commodities to commercial dog breeders."

I guess I could have used bold and red throughout the article since almost all of the above has me banging my head against my desk.  So goes the fight in Missouri about puppy mills / commercial dog breeding.


  1. That is just sick to read that they have to be court-ordered to provide humane care.

  2. That is disgusting. What I'd like is a list of the names of these 83 Breeders who filed this lawsuit and put them up on the internet for people to read when they decide to purchase a dog from a breeder.

    Sue, this has every kind of WTF for me. It makes me so angry I'd like to kick somebody's a**!

  3. These people have no business calling themselves breeders. What they do has nothing to do with breeding and raising dogs for interaction with humans and other dogs. Their arguments make it very clear they have no interest in the dogs. The fact the woman euthanized and didn't even try to place the dogs clearly indicates she has no attachment to the animals she owned. That is one of the clear differences between mills and responsible breeders.

  4. Excuse me saying so, but these people sound like dumbasses... 72 dogs??? I can't even imagine a veterinarian that would be willing to do that... well, I guess I can since there are corrupt people out there but still... This is just crazy!

  5. I think we should all be given inspector's jobs, then when met with such pervasive ignorance, do the compassionate thing and call social services. Evidently too stoopid to take care of themselves as clearly illustrated by their actions and inaction, the only humane recourse would be to be relieve them of their dogs. As an aside, glad to hear I am not alone in banging my head, though I use the wall rather than the desk =)


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