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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Legislator files bill to repeal 'puppy mill' law

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - When state Sen. Bill Stouffer (R-Napton) filed a "straight-up" repeal of Proposition B -- the ballot issue commonly known as the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act"-- critics were quick to speak up.

"Missouri's elected officials should respect the will of the people," said Barbara Schmitz, campaign director of Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, on a website statement. "Subverting the judgment of voters is anti-democratic. Our system is built on majority rule, and a majority of Missouri favored Prop B. The voters acted precisely because the legislature has failed to stop puppy mill abuses."

On Nov. 2, the proposition passed by 2 percent of the votes: 997,870 or 51.6 percent to 936,190 or 49.4 percent. However, opponents of the law have pointed out it passed in just 11 of the state's 114 counties, with all but two of the counties being part of the metropolitan areas of Kansas City and St. Louis.

Since filing the repeal bill on Dec. 1, Stouffer's office has fielded many negative e-mails concerning the subject including at least one that hoped his family "all got AIDS and died."

Recently, six billboards have been purchased by the Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, a non-profit organization, that was formed to promote the legislation, to greet returning legislators with, "Missouri voters have spoken. Will you listen?"

"It is a highly emotional issue on both sides," Stouffer said in a recent interview with The Marshall Democrat-News. "I have breeders coming to me with tears in their eyes, because that is what their family depends on."

Stouffer -- who represents Saline, Lafayette, Howard, Chariton, Cooper, Howard, Ray counties, along with a small portion in Clay County -- points out that by proposing the repeal he is representing the will of the voters in his district.

"When I looked at my Senate district, I have a couple counties that voted 80 percent against it. I think in Saline County it was 65 to 35 against it," he said. The only county he represents which voted for the law was Clay, where he serves a small portion of precincts. In pulling out just the voters he represents in Clay, the vote was close to 50-50 on the issue, he said.

"So I feel like I am representing the folks that elected me."

According to Stouffer, proponents of the legislation, which included the Humane Society of the United States, an animal rights advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., spent $4.5 million on advertising, including a strong television ad campaign in the metropolitan areas.

Those against the legislation, which included the Missourians for Animal Care coalition, spent approximately $120,000. Their campaign relied heavily on social media, word of mouth and local speakers.

Some opponents of Prop B have said the obvious split in voting, where some rural districts voted up to 90 percent against the issue, shows that "city voters" were swayed by the heart-tugging advertisements, instead of studying the issue, according to Stouffer.

Early polls had indicated that when first told of the issue, Missouri voters were 91 percent in favor of the legislation, said Stouffer.

"(But) It passed by less than 2 percent. That tells me the more people were informed, the more they realized this was a bad law," said Stouffer, who spent time in his district speaking against the law before the vote.

The new legislative session begins on Jan. 5, but Stouffer isn't under any illusions that this will be an easy fight.

"I think we will definitely get it altered," he said. "My impression is that if every legislator voted the way their district voted it would (be repealed)."

According to proponents of the bill however, the bill passed in 18 of 34 state Senate districts, and in a majority of House districts as well.

"The HSUS has already hired four lobbyists and this will be a donnybrook," Stouffer said.


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I voted in favor of the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act though I know I am probably in the minority in Dunklin County. I voted for the bill because the state does not have the will nor the resources to enforce existing laws that would prevent much of the abuse that is happening at these pupply mills. Therefore, all dog breeders should be restricted.

Having 50 breeding dogs is enough to run a profitable operation. I personally have seen the neglect and abuse that happens at these puppy mills, and it must stop.

There is currently a surplus of unwanted dogs in the United States, as evidenced by the number of dogs that are turned in to shelters every year. And even more are dumped in rural areas to fend for themselves or to die miserable deaths. We do not need more dogs, and regulating the size of the puppy mills is one small step toward reducing the number of unwanted dogs.

The existing law that was passed by a majority of voters in Missouri, should stand as it was passed.

-- Posted by NotMiniMe on Wed, Jan 5, 2011, at 3:31 PM

NotMiniMe,

you voted in favor of a new law and by your own admission, there's not enough enforcement of existing laws?

"New laws" is never the answer when so many of the existing laws aren't being enforced or utilized.

The problem with this one is that it wasn't passed BY the people. it was passed by voters buying into the whole HSUS Lobby Machine. Whether or not you personally see a problem with large breeding operations or backyard breeders doesn't matter. this entire law was bought and paid for by a fearmongering international organization in YOUR BACKYARD. Another fact that's been spelled out in the story, the vast majority of votes came from St Louis and KC. What percentage of the population of both Cities could survive in a rural environment for more than a week, let alone actively work on a farm?

Ponder both these aspects before you decide to vote again to strip others of their rights at the behenst of a animal rights org with a warchest that would put the state's budget in the black easily.

-- Posted by RoninDallas on Wed, Jan 5, 2011, at 6:10 PM

I have not received my check from HSUS for voting for Proposition B. Rip!

No matter how you all try to re-frame the vote, to manipulate it so it doesn't "seem" like the majority voted for the bill, the majority voted for this bill.

The majority of the people in the majority of the state legislative districts voted for this bill. Following Senator Stouffer's reasoning then, he doesn't have the votes to repeal Proposition B.

So why are we wasting time on this? We have so many other issues that should be taking our representatives' time--why are they wasting time on repealing or modifying a citizen initiative?

Because agribusiness in this state doesn't want anything to happen in Jefferson City unless they give their permission. It doesn't matter what the majority of people want--it only matters what agribusiness wants.

Well, it's time for agribusiness to realize that they have to live by the same laws, and the same state Constitution as the rest of us.

It's time all of us had a voice in Jefferson City.

If anyone feels their Constitutional rights have been abrogated they have another recourse: the courts. They can file a lawsuit challenging Proposition B. That is the way our system of government works.

-- Posted by shelleyp on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 8:36 AM

Shelley, why do you want to tie up the courts' time and money with an unconstitutional initiative when our legislators can easily fix this mess by repealing it? That is exactly why the process of an initiative becoming a law must be followed......to protect the citizens from the tyranny of a radical vegan multi-million dollar factory fundraising, factory lobbying machine! HSUS has perpetrated a 4+ million dollar fraud upon Missouri and it must be corrected.

-- Posted by ptbamdb on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 10:08 AM

Elected officials should respect the will of the people. Subverting the judgment of voters is not right, and it is anti-democratic. Our system is built on majority rule, and a majority of Missouri citizens--including majorities in most House and Senate legislative districts--favored Prop B. The voters acted precisely because the legislature has failed to stop puppy mill abuses. It is undemocratic, and would be wrong of lawmakers to usurp the power of the people and ignore their expressed will.

-- Posted by AnneHSUS on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 10:57 AM

AnneHSUS (employee)... Elected officials SHOULD respect the will of their people. So in the VAST majority of counties where Prop B went down in flames, it is reasonable to expect that those representatives SHOULD fight for the will of their constituents, rather than bow to the tyranny of the "majority." That's how things work in a representative democracy.

HSUS subverted the process by intentionally disseminating false information about what Prop B would and wouldn't do.

-- Posted by DogMom2010 on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 1:48 PM

HSUS and employees should be held accountable for all their LIES and misinformation. Spending an obscene amount of money (over 4 million dollars!) to buy yes-votes by LYING television commercials targeting unknowing, uneducated (about agriculture) city voters, HSUS still barely managed to squeak Prop B by.

HSUS is now so desperate to keep Prop B on the books, they are even threatening our legislators! Threats and lies, deceit and misinformation.....they are HSUS' strong suits.

-- Posted by ptbamdb on Thu, Jan 6, 2011, at 8:29 PM

Anne,

I guess you're filling in for Sarah. Now lets talk about what you said. Subverting the vote of citizens? Let's look at the HSUS PR campaign shall we? 4-4.5 MILLION dollars spend on this prop (I'm sure the IRS would LOVE to hear of this one). the campaign was full of lies, deceptive advertizing. So who subverted the votes? HSUS. For the record, there is NO legal definition of "puppy mill" as you HSUS folks are fond of. The Abuses? Puhlease. The laws that were on the books prior to Prop B (and Prop 2 in Cali) were strong enough to prevent ANY abuses IF THEY WERE ENFORCED. What IF it was voted down? would the HSUS Blackmail the govr on congress like they did in Ohio? So much for the democratic process. Buy the votes you can, dump millions into lies of feel good legislation, screw the constitution, you'll do whatever you can to win an initiative. MO is NOT your state, you're based on the east coast. you spend 99% of your income to pay exec salaries, benes packages and lobbying and less than 1 percent on actually providing hands on services for animals?

What about the 34 Mil from Katrina? 6 mil spend on a facility AFTER the AG started criminal investigations? What about Vick's Dogs. First it's "kill them all" then "give us money" when they were being rehabilitated by an independant rescue and now "VICK SHOULD BE ABLE TO OWN DOGS"?

Are you on CRACK?

The People of this great state, of this Nation are waking up and your days of an animal rights business are limited. Now might be a good time to start looking for work elsewhere.

-- Posted by RoninDallas on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 1:22 AM

I have been shown no evidence that humane treatment and conditions for breeding animals prevents the breeders from maintaining a profitable business. Yes, there most likely would be some increase in animal maintenance costs, but not to the point that small business would be forced to close.

Mahatma Gandhi noted that a society could be judged by the way they treated their animals. Perhaps we should remember that dogs and all other creatures were created by God, for His purposes; I doubt that cruelty and neglect were part of the Plan.

-- Posted by Redliana on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 10:05 AM

So what do you call having to abandon a perfectly good $30,000 top-of-the-line kennel for small dogs with comfortable, roomy, sanitary pens with indoor/outdoor runs, automatic waterers and feeders? It will be worthless because no one will buy an 'illegal' building. Then having to build on-the-ground pens and a new expensive building at ground level with over-sized compartments. Heating and air-conditioning will be much higher for bigger spaces requirements and open doorways for unfettered access.

Small dogs housed on dirt or concrete will require more frequent grooming and frequent baths not required with a CLEAN environment like the $30,000 kennel that is illegal.

Vet bills and medication costs will skyrocket as the dogs and puppies kept on dirt/concrete will need to be wormed more frequently (wormers are poisons), deflea'd and de-ticked regularly (no fleas or ticks when in the $30,000 illegal kennel), premises fly-treated more (as you can't sanitize the dirt or concrete and there is always residue to attract flies), puppies will be sick or won't survive the 85 degree maximum temperatures or unfettered access (newborns need over 90 degrees), yearly exams add costs, too.

How can a small business be forced to buy new accomodations when they have better facilities already? Answer=HSUS wants us out of business!

-- Posted by ptbamdb on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 7:31 PM

Redliana,

I'm pretty sure you have indeed been shown how this draconian piece of legislation will shut down small and hobby breeders. the difference is that since it doesn't fit YOUR perception of perfect animal husbandry conditions and practices or your ultimate agenda, it is therefore substandard and should be made illegal. perhaps a nice lean steak will help boost that B12 level you apparently seem to be lacking.

-- Posted by RoninDallas on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 10:42 PM

RoninD:

You assume I am a vegetarian and that I have hidden agenda. Wrong on both counts. I have no problem eating or using animal products, including breeding domestic animals. However, I won't buy the argument that factory animals are already living in top notch humane conditions. I do agree that passing a new law because the old laws were not enforced is ludicrous and ineffective. I would like to see Missouri breeders maintain strict standards of adequate shelter, nutrition, and health, and do this voluntarily as a group. Perhaps the majority of breeders are already caring for their animals appropriately, but the horror stories of the few bad apples make the entire industry look bad. The breeders are a community, and as such they should shun those members that behave in ways hurtful to the animals and counterproductive to the community.

-- Posted by Redliana on Fri, Jan 7, 2011, at 11:52 PM

Redliana says: 'I have been shown no evidence that humane treatment and conditions for breeding animals prevents the breeders from maintaining a profitable business.'

Could you maintain a profitable business if your nearly-new factory was declared unfit and demolished (at your expense) and you had to build a huge new factory that made your product much harder (and more expensive) to produce, your work-load and expenses were doubled, your inventory was drastically restricted, and your new income potential was cut by more than one-third?

Of course, you knew that each year, you would be forced to downsize inventory and income once again to suit some radical special interest groups that didn't like your product? (Well, they liked your product enough to offer to take it off your hands so they could sell it themselves).

And at any time, the local police could come to your factory, criminally charge you and put you in jail if the temperature in your factory was one degree too hot or cold or if the builders had made an inch mistake in construction or if there was dust on your inventory shelves.

Of course you, Redliana, are only an employee of that business, so you would be on unemployment, further being a drain on Missouri's economy.

-- Posted by ptbamdb on Mon, Jan 10, 2011, at 10:13 AM


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