In an outrageous affront to the democratic process, on Wednesday, April 13, the Missouri House of Representatives voted 85-71 to reject the will of the state’s voters and eliminate all of the newly established humane improvements outlined in the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act (PMCPA). The PMCPA, which is scheduled to go into effect in November, was passed five months ago by popular vote as “Proposition B” to more tightly regulate conditions at the state’s thousands of commercial dog breeding facilities.
Missouri is the number-one puppy-producing state in the county, supplying pet stores from coast to coast with hundreds of thousands of dogs annually, and is notorious for its lax animal-care standards and proliferation of unlicensed breeders. Unless it is vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon, the bill the House just passed (SB 113) will not only supersede the PMCPA—which includes such humane provisions as increased cage size, prohibition on the use of wire flooring and restrictions on breeding frequency—it will make parts of the state’s commercial breeding law even weaker than they are now.
“In spite of decades of urging by the animal welfare community, the Missouri General Assembly remained silent on the issue of puppy mills until after the voters spoke. The failure of the General Assembly to address the problem is why we finally took this straight to the people,” says Cori Menkin, ASPCA Senior Director of Legislative Initiatives. “And as evidenced by the passage of Proposition B, Missourians care deeply about puppy mill reform. That state legislators are discarding Prop B and ignoring the will of the people they are supposed to represent is appalling, insulting and disrespectful.”
If the legislature succeeds in blocking implementation of the PMCPA, it could have consequences far beyond Missouri. States as close as Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska and as distant as Hawaii are currently considering puppy mill-related measures of their own. Unfortunately, lawmakers in these states are regarding these developments in the Puppy Mill Capital of America as a bellwether of reform. If the PMCPA is gutted in Missouri, your state’s puppy mill law might be next.
The fate of millions of dogs now hangs on the decision of one man. The ASPCA implores all of our supporters to contact everyone you know in Missouri; ask them to call Governor Nixon to urge him to veto SB 113 (please do not call the governor if you live outside Missouri). You can also help by spreading the word about this injustice—please share this article via Facebook and Twitter.
And here is the story about Governor Jay Nixon signing the legislation today, which gutted Proposition B in Missouri, nevermind what the voters said.
ASPCA is right, it's an outrageous affront to the democratic process. More at another time on follow-up response from the animal protection community.