Proposition B: Comparing Old Laws to New

A major source of criticism of Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act—both before and after the election—is that the new laws aren't needed, and that all we need is better enforcement. We've also been told that Proposition B penalizes "good breeders" who do meet current laws, and does little to punish the "bad breeders". Some have even stated that Proposition B laws will "hurt" the dogs, rather than help them.

In the next several pages, I compare the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act with existing Missouri Department of Agriculture and USDA laws. You can then judge for yourself the veracity of the claims.

The Proposition B text.

The USDA guidelines regarding animal welfare are listed under the Animal Welfare Act. The enforcement of the guidelines is under the responsibility of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The requirements of breeders are located in the requirements for dealers in the Animal Welfare Regulations (pdf), found in the APHIS Publications and Reports page.

In order to ensure transparency in its actions, APHIS provides a database of inspection reports available to the public. APHIS also provides a reading room for decisions regarding violations of AWA.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture's rules regarding to animal welfare in regards to dogs and cats are contained within the Animal Care Facilities Act Program (ACFA). The basis for the act is contained in Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 273: Dogs--Cats. The actual delimited rules are found in the Animal Care Facilities Regulations (pdf).

Access to inspection records can be made based on Missouri's Sunshine Laws. However, to access the records, you must travel to Jefferson City and review paper copies of the inspection reports. In addition, there is a per page copy fee, and there are labor charges if you wish to have someone in Jefferson City copy inspection reports for you, and either mail them or send them via email.

Since USDA licensed breeders must also be Missouri licensed breeders, and since access to the Missouri records are so encumbered, any inspection material in these pages is primarily from the USDA records.

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