The puppy mill debate heats up in Missouri

Prop B in Missouri, which is on the November ballot in the state, will set reasonable regulations on breeders in the state. The debate on this issue is flying as election day draws nearer and hopefully reason and compassion will win out, as dogs trapped in puppy mills are suffering with each passing day.

The Yes! on Prob B website offers the facts on the measure.

The Neosho Daily News on Sunday posted a story about a rally featuring breeders opposed to the proposed legislation. The opposition, as noted in this story, seems to always go to the edges and beyond. It’s the slippery slope argument every time.

In reality, setting these standards of care that require regular exercise, clean food the water and regular vet care are reasonable. There is opposition to the 50-dog limit on breeding dogs. The problem here becomes the breeding facilities with dozens of dogs and too few staff members to care for them.

My wife and I care for our handful of rescue dogs, and caring for them is a full-time job – between the two of us. They need human contact, playtime, regular feedings and regular trips to the vet. Multiply our family numbers by a factor of three or four or more and we’re looking at a much greater task in caring for them.

What some people don’t seem to understand is dogs need social time and play time. It’s good for their emotional well-being. Dogs caged constantly with limited or no time for play and exercise in puppy factories are living a far less-than-ideal life – to put it nicely.

They need time outside and time outside of their cages. They need to live like house pets and not merely as breeding machines.

There might be breeders with 60 dogs who are caring for them, but these facilities would need a staff large enough to care for numbers this high and higher. I’ve proposed in the past a regulation that sets a minimum dog-to-handler ratio in breeding kennels.

And then we have the following from the Neosho Daily News piece, which is a one-sided article. It’s a here-we-go-again moment in this debate –

“” “”

The ballot language says the amendment will “require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles” language that Lafferty disagrees with. She and other breeders at the rally say they already do all that.

“The way that the proposition reads on the ballot,” Lafferty said. “It’s not fair.”

“” “”

So the breeders at the rally disagree with providing “sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles.” But these same breeders say they already follow these guidelines – but then again they say it’s not fair to hold them to standards they say they already follow.

So let’s take a look at this non-logic. – I don’t exceed the speed limit and therefore I follow these traffic regulations – but setting the speed limits will hurt me because I follow the speed limits anyway.

Or maybe – I run a clean restaurant and even without regulations, I meet or exceed the cleanliness standards set by my local health department. But the regulations that I already exceed in my business are hurting me because I would have to meet the same standards that I would follow without the regulations.

There has to be a name for this flip-floppery of non-logic but I’m having hard time coming up with a name for it – other than flip-floppery non-logic.

And finally there’s this from the story –

“” – “It’s basic business practices,” Fleming said. “If they do a poor job and produce a bad puppy or bad business product, they’re not going to be able to sell it … and if they can’t sell it they can’t put food on the table or food in their kennel.” – “”

This would be right in Fantasy Land, but this is not what is happening in Realityville. Puppy mills are staying in business while selling sick puppies and those who have been poorly socialized. And the mills selling these “bad business products” are still operating and have been for many years. Why? – Because too many people haven’t receive the message. They don’t know that adoption is the better option and they don’t know the risk they take with buying from a store or over the Internet – without visiting the breeder’s facility to insure they are buying from a quality breeder.

And in other areas of our economy, if you don’t realize some businesses are operating at a nice profit by selling inferior products, then you might be someone with blinders on or one who is regularly buying those same inferior products.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by D Gary Grady on October 5, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    You can read the entire text of the ballot initiative here:

    It applies exclusively to commercial breeding operations supplying the pet trade and explicitly exempts breeders with fewer than 10 breeding dogs, though small operations should find it fairly easy to comply with the laws requirements. It forbids mass puppy factories with more than 50 breeding dogs. In between it provides reasonable requirements for living conditions and veterinary care.

    Unfortunately, some people, particularly some on the political far right have come out against this bipartisan, apolitical initiative, with some even bizarrely claiming that the Humane Society of the United States doesn’t like animals and is opposed to keeping pets.


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