I've decided to shutter Puppies at Burningbird. I do all my writing now at Burningbird.

Is the Puppy Mill Fight Over

Good question: is the puppy mill fight over?

Rabbit Ridge is still in business. It starved a dog to death, and it's still in business.

Horse Slaughterhouse in Missouri

Not only is Missouri home to the largest number of puppy mills in the country, but there's effort underway to open the nation's first horse slaughterhouse here.

The infamous Sue Wallis, who has been a leading advocate for bringing horse slaughter back to this country, first introduced the idea of converting a vacant warehouse into a horse slaughter plant near Mountain Grove.

At a public meeting on the proposed plan, the Community Preservation Project's MacPerson aggressively challenged the idea of bringing in a slaughter house. She provided a fact list about problems with the plant, and rallied strong support in opposition.

Debe Bell Update: Guilty

Just a quick update, to finish out earlier stories on Debe Bell and the Six Bells Rabbitry.

Debe Bell was found guilty of 35 counts of animal abuse.

Surprisingly, some of the rabbits were hearty enough to survive, and once they were nursed back to health, they were readied for adoption through the Foothills Animal Shelter. However, (clarification) the Jeffco DA's office says twenty of them were dead, including a number of animals found in a farm freezer.

Although necropsies on the dead animals suggested that they had experienced pain and suffering before expiring, the jury considering the case ruled Bell not guilty in their death. But that still left 35 counts of animal cruelty on which she was convicted, with each one bringing a potential eighteen months in jail.

Bell had said only a few rabbits were dead. Truth will out.

Rabbit Ridge: of Starving Dogs and Extreme Heat

The USDA has released a relatively complete set of inspections for Rabbit Ridge including the missing August 2nd inspection, as well as newer ones at the end of November. However, they did remove the inspection for November 29, but not before I got a copy (pages two, three, four, and five).

Though the inspections state that the USDA APHIS inspector was accompanied by a VMO, which I believe is a representative from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the MDA shows no new inspections since August, 2011.

From the August 2 inspection:

Puppies may be going away

I am considering discontinuing this site. I want to focus more generally on animal issues, rather than only puppy mills in the state of Missouri. I'm also running into difficulties with getting records from the state and the USDA. Especially, and surprisingly, the USDA.

Without the power of a team of lawyers behind you, it's sometimes difficult to kick through the walls agencies put up to prevent access to data. The USDA has not been helpful lately. At all. Without the information, though, I can't really expose bad breeders. Plus I just can't afford to pay for more inspection reports from the state.

I am starting up a new site devoted to issues related to animals, but it's more general and not specific to just Missouri. I guess we'll see if I post again whether I maintain this site or not. Trying to do both probably means I do neither well.

Cattlemen, all in a dither

The Missouri Cattlemen got together, and worked themselves up into a froth of anxiety about HSUS.

You know that HSUS has to be doing something right when a meeting of cattlemen talks more about HSUS than cattle.

Michael Parson was doing his usual: using his elected position to bully non-profits because he doesn't agree with them.

Anyway, as I wrote in a comment to the post:

I find it disturbing that an elected official, Michael Parson, would advocate government investigation of a non-profit, solely because he disagrees with the non-profit.

Point of fact, I find such attitude to be chilling, in its disregard of the fundamental freedoms on which this country was based.

How far will this man go to protect large agribusiness in this state?

Draft ACFA Rules

I have a draft of the ACFA rules after the modification by the "Missouri Solution". These are draft until vetted by the Secretary of State.

The Humane Society of the US, the ASPCA, and the Best Friends Society had mixed reviews of the new rules. On the plus side, a veterinarian annual exam must be physical, not visual. In addition, the new rules do at least address some of the original concerns, such as providing a definition of what a "severe" illness or injury is, and what is meant by "extreme" weather conditions.

Puppy Millers to Receive State funds under new MDA Rules

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has finalized the rules based on the passage of SB 161.1. They managed to go through thousands of written comments and finalize the rules in a week's time. Must be a record.

The rules actually listed at the MDA are still the old rules. I have no idea when the Department is actually going to post the new ones. I would have expected a link with the news release.

In the meantime, as far as we know, shelters are still being charged the same fee as commercial breeders. This on top of the fact that the State is providing funding for the professional breeders to make whatever meager changes are necessary to meet the new rules.

My Letter with commentary on new commercial dog breeder rules

Following is the letter I sent to Drs. Woods and Hickam.

Subject: Commentary on proposed commercial dog breeding regulations

Dear Doctor Woods and Hickam:

I appreciate this opportunity to provide commentary on the proposed new rules to be added to the Animal Care Facilities Act (related to Senate Bill 161.1). Following are my requested clarifications and modifications for these rules.

1. In the section defining "Necessary veterinary care", please provide further clarification that the once a year examination be a hands-on physical examination, and not a visual inspection. A visual inspection is not sufficient in order to determine the dog's health.


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