End in Sight for Missouri Puppy Mills

In the battle against puppy mills, Missouri is ground zero. With approximately 3,000 puppy mills in the state, Missouri is the number one puppy producing state in the country. Approximately 40% of all pet store puppies are bred in Missouri, where almost 200,000 breeding dogs produce up to a million puppies a year.

There appeared to be no antidote for Missouri’s puppy mill problem, until now.    Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, a state ballot initiative committee, officially kicked off their campaign to improve the lives of these forgotten dogs. The group is comprised of the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Humane Society of the United States, and local humane societies, veterinarians, and animal advocates across the state.

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs are going straight to the citizens of Missouri for their support. A ballot initiative, or citizen’s initiative, allows a petition signed by a certain number of registered voters to force a public vote on a proposed statute, amendment or ordinance. The Missourians for the Protection of Dogs will need to acquire more than 100,000 petition signatures before the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act can be added to the ballot. Even when all the necessary signatures are acquired and approved, the campaigning will continue for “yes” votes on the November 2010 ballot.

The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act is a modest reform to address some of the most inhumane practices at puppy mills:

Cruel and inhumane conditions --- Dogs in puppy mills rarely feel the touch of a human hand or grass underneath their feet. Food and water are often scarce, dirty, or spoiled.  Many dogs have little protection from the elements or extreme temperatures. We wouldn’t treat our pets this way; and we shouldn’t allow large-scale breeders to do it.  The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act would require basic, humane care for dogs, including sufficient food and clean water, necessary veterinary care, and regular exercise.

Stacked, wire-floored cages -- Puppy mill dogs are crammed in small cages similar to chicken coops, 24 hours a day. The cages often have wire floors, and foot and leg injuries are common. Rows of cages are stacked on top of each other, sometimes allowing waste to rain down on animals in the bottom cages. The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act would require that dogs have sufficient housing, including protection from the elements, and would ban stacked or wire-floored cages.

Continuous breeding without rest -- Across Missouri, female dogs are caged and forced to breed nearly every heat cycle to produce puppies for sale.  By the age of  6 or 7, they are worn out from breeding, used up, and often killed or abandoned. The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act would require adequate rest between breeding cycles for dogs.

This is a moderate and reasonable measure. In the past two years, 12 states have passed laws to limit or regulate puppy mills. Pet lovers across the country are demanding better treatment for dogs at mass-breeding facilities, and Missouri is no exception. Reasonable standards are needed to protect our best friends. The Act would not affect small, reputable breeders or sportsmen.

I asked Barbara Schmitz, campaign manager for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, to break down what activists can do to help:

If you are a Missouri resident:

• We need your signature! We are inviting Missouri registered voters to sign our petitions so that we can collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Look for us at major community events as well as at public places like post offices.

• We need your help gathering signatures. Even a few hours a month can make a huge difference. We’ll answer your questions and train you. If you would like to know more about our campaign, then attend one of our meetings. Just call 314-725-8880 or 573/263-9226 for details. Or, better yet, visit missourifordogs.com!

• There are many other things you can do to help the puppies. Just contact our office at 314-725-8880 for details.

If you are not a Missouri resident:

• Consider spending a weekend or a few days of your vacation time in Missouri. We need your help! Just contact our office at 314-725-8880 and let us know the dates you will be around, and we will let you know what we will need help with at that time.

• Spread the word! Let your friends and relatives in Missouri know about this campaign and how important and urgent our efforts are. Urge them to get involved. Even a few hours a month can make a big difference. Write, call or email your friends.

• Become a fan of our Facebook Page, Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, so you can stay on top of the latest in our campaign.

For more information about the Missouri ballot measure or what you can do to stop puppy mills go to missourifordogs.com.

In 2010 we will make history in the fight against the mills. Always remember that your voice is incredibly powerful. Education is the best defense against animal cruelty. Tell someone about the puppy mill industry today!


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Positively Expert: Kim Alboum

Kim Alboum is North Carolina's state director for The Humane Society of the United States. Since 2005, she has served as a volunteer coordinator and later as a board member for the Puppy Mill Awareness Day Organization. Her volunteer responsibilities also include tracking dog breeding legislation and cruelty laws.


6 thoughts on “End in Sight for Missouri Puppy Mills

  1. Patricia Dotson

    I think its the cruelest thing anyone can do is have a puppy mill Pet stores in Connecticut buy from them the name of store is THE PET COMPANY #28 IN Danbury CT I know i have a dog that just turned 1 yr old born in MO. I tried to contact the breeder to find out a few things and was told I couldnt Yes I believe my baby was a puppy mill pup;
    Close them down shut the doors on them its just not fair to breed dogs in such horrifying conditions

  2. loril

    Good job in your causes to stop these evil money making fools who care nothing except to make money from these Godly creatures

  3. grace nelson

    this ia an absolute bloody disgrace and must be stopped now, hollywood needs to buck up there ideas to cause thet are part of the massive proplem too, is money so important that you need to have these poor animals breeb all time time? i am mother of 3 and that was bad enough but i had a choice, these poor animals dont there fore we should all stand together and say enough is enough

  4. Mary O'Connor-Shaver

    Ohio has no laws preventing dog auctions.

    Many concerned citizens firmly believe the auctions serve not reputable breeders but large commercial facilities where dogs are bred to produce as many puppies as possible in conditions ranging from unsanitary to inhumane.

    The Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions is spearheading a new, citizen-backed ballot initiative – The Ohio Dog Auctions Act.

    The measure (similar in language to Pennsylvania's Statute 459-603) will establish a statute to the Ohio Dog Law making it illegal for anyone to auction or raffle a dog in Ohio. It also would prohibit bringing dogs into the state for sale or trade that were acquired by auction or raffle elsewhere.

    As of February 28, a total of 7,565 signatures have been collected of the minimum 120,700 signatures required. 240 volunteer Petition Circulators helped raise awareness of the Ohio Dog Auctions Act by helping to collect signatures from 64 counties.

    Voters across the state are communicating with their fellow citizens and starting to gather a goal of a minimum of 120,700 signatures by December 1, 2010 to put the proposed law before the Legislature in January 2011.

    Volunteer petitioners are needed to make this initiative a reality in Ohio —we have until December 1, 2010! We need everyone's participation to make this vital effort a success!

    Steps to Success!

    New Campaign Kits!
    A new campaign kit to help gather signatures contains a media release, an informational sheet on the top questions (with answers) everyone needs to know on Ohio dog auctions and an informational sheet on best strategies in helping to raise awareness and gather signatures from registered voters.

    To download these and other informational materials, including a copy of the Initiative Petition (Ohio Dog Auctions Act), please click here - > http://www.animallawcoalition.com/companion-animal-breeding/article/1080#attachments

    Town Hall Meetings!
    Learn more about the Ohio Dog Auctions Act by participating in a Town Hall Meeting for your county! For dates, times and locations of upcoming Town Hall Meetings (as they become confirmed), please click here -> http://banohiodogauctions.com/Events_02UZ.html

    Signature Gathering!
    With over 121,000 signatures needed for the Initiative Petition to be placed on the 2011 ballot, much help is needed from additional volunteers!

    For dates, times and locations of upcoming Signature Gatherings (as they become confirmed), please click here - > http://banohiodogauctions.com/Events_02UZ.html

  5. Karina Valadez

    lets put those people in cramped csages and let them feel the suffering of those pups.

  6. Tee Taylor

    In our business we see so many dogs that came from pet stores AKA puppy mills or purchased through the internet. I am always surprised how shocked the owners are to learn the truth about these types of purchases. I am glad to see this article and others like it continuing to raise awareness about this terrible situation. I cannot say it enough, ONLY buy from a reputable breeder or better yet......adopt!

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