Legislators arrogantly overturn puppy mill law
Apparently determined to preserve Missouri’s status as the nation’s “puppy mill capital,” the state Senate has passed legislation dismantling the humane protections approved by voters in November.
The bill gives breeders permission to continue business as usual — stacking dogs in wire cages, subjecting them to extreme heat and cold, and depriving them of clean water.
Breeders who repeatedly violate the law would be subject to misdemeanor charges, not felony charges as called for in the voter-approved “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.” Operators also could no longer be limited to 50 breeding dogs at one time.
Passing the bill on a 20-14 vote, senators showed an arrogant disrespect for Missourians who passed Prop B with 51.6 percent of the vote.
Lawmakers preposterously claim that voters didn’t understand the ballot proposition.
Here is what Missourians understood: The state’s dog-breeding industry is riddled with problems. Raids turn up starved, mangy and tormented animals. Pet stores and consumers across the country have complained about problems with Missouri-bred puppies. The state legislature, held hostage to interests that regard dogs as just another form of livestock, has ignored the problem for years.
All senators from Jackson, Clay and Platte counties voted “no” on the bill Thursday, except for Victor Callahan of Independence, who also was the only Democrat to vote against the wishes of the state’s voters. Republican Sen. David Pearce, who represents Cass County, voted yes.
The move to undo Proposition B could still be halted by the House or by a veto from Gov. Jay Nixon. One or the other needs to stop this affront to dogs and to Missouri voters.