November 2, 2010, the people of Missouri voted for Proposition B: The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act. This Act is an amendment to existing laws that focuses specifically on commercial dog breeders, and strengthens current regulations regarding food, water, shelter, veterinary care, breeding frequency, and number of intact (not spayed or neutered) dogs. The bill also creates new Class C and Class A misdemeanors for puppy mill cruelty.
Proposition B was a controversial ballot issue, generating a considerable amount of heated discussion. Proponents for Proposition B included the Humane Society of the US, the Humane Society of Missouri, the ASCPA, the Best Friends Animal Society, Humane Society of Kansas City, Stray Rescue, and a host of other animal welfare organizations, civic leaders, Missouri veterinarians, and businesses. Supporters also included a lot of just plain folks, like me.
There was strong opposition to Proposition B, from commercial dog breeders, which was a given, but also from cattlemen, chicken farmers, the Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Federation of Animal Owners, Missouri Veterinarian Medical Association, and even the AKC. The argument from some of the organizations was that there are laws in place and the only problem is lack of enforcement. However, the main argument from the agricultural communities was not about Proposition B's influence on dog breeding, but was more about a perceived influence of the bill on other forms of livestock management, including that for cattle, chickens, and hogs.
Though Proposition B was specifically worded for dogs, and was included in Missouri Revised Statutes under the Dog/Cat designation, many people voted against Proposition B primarily because they saw it impacting on other forms of livestock. However, the majority of Missourians voted for Proposition B and it passed 51.6% to 48.4%.
Immediately after the vote, the same groups that argued against Proposition B cried foul because the majority of the positive vote occurred in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas, while most of the rural areas voted No. "103 of 114 counties voted No!", came the shout, as Proposition B opposition forces prepared to continue the fight past the election. Not long after, state representatives, including Senator Mike Parson and Senator BIll Parson, promised that they would bring about legislation in 2011 that would either repeal Proposition B completely, or revise it considerably. At this time, there are two bills, Missouri House Bill 94 and Missouri Senate Bill 4, both focused on repealing Proposition B.
This site's purpose is not only to track these and other bills associated with Proposition B, but also to provide a more in-depth look at what Proposition B is, and how it will impact on existing dog breeders, now and in the future. I hope that this site is helpful in the fight to preserve Proposition B.
And preserve Proposition B, we must. We have allowed barbaric conditions at too many large scale dog breeders to exist for too long.
He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals -- Immanuel Kant