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May 10, 2010

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs Forms Advisory Board to Help Fight Puppy Mill Cruelty

Tony La Russa and prominent Missourians endorse puppy mill initiative

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, the group spearheading the proposed Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act ballot initiative, announces the creation of the Puppy Mill Reform Committee, which includes prominent individuals committed to fighting puppy mills across the state and to passing a statewide ballot measure to address this problem. The committee currently has nine members, including Tony La Russa, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals and co-founder of the Animal Rescue Foundation; Dr. C.B. Chastain, veterinarian and professor of small animal medicine; former Missouri state Sen. Betty Sims; and political consultant Linda Bond.

"Missouri is known as 'the puppy mill capital of America' because of the large number of commercial dog breeding kennels found throughout the state," said La Russa. "Tens of thousands of dogs suffer in these facilities from inadequate shelter, lack of veterinary care, and harsh breeding conditions. As a member of the Puppy Mill Reform Committee, I support Missourians for the Protection of Dogs' efforts to improve the lives of dogs in Missouri's commercial breeding operations." 

Missouri is home to an estimated 3,000 puppy mills, breeding hundreds of thousands of puppies, far more than any other state in the country. Dogs in puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization, or human interaction, and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life. Puppy mill dogs spend their entire lives churning out litter after litter of puppies, which are then sold in pet stores, online, and directly to consumers without regard for the puppies' health, genetic history, or future welfare. 

"Tony La Russa certainly knows how to pick winners," said Barbara Schmitz, campaign manager for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs. "We are delighted to have the support of each and every one of the members of the Puppy Mill Reform Committee in our groundbreaking effort to crack down on puppy mills here in Missouri." 

Other inaugural members joining La Russa, Chastain, Sims and Bond on the Puppy Mill Reform Committee include: Tish Bentledge, executive director of the Carthage Humane Society; Dr. Suzanne Saueressig, veterinarian with the Humane Society of Missouri; Courtney Thomas, director of operations at Wayside Waifs; Lesly Thurman, executive director for the Southwest Missouri Humane Society; and Kathy Warnick, president of the Humane Society of Missouri. Additional members of the Puppy Mill Reform Committee will be announced throughout the campaign.

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Paid for by Missourians for the Protection of Dogs / YES! on Prop B, Judy Peil, Treasurer

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs is comprised of numerous individuals, veterinarians, and animal welfare organizations, including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and The Humane Society of the United States. Details on the ballot initiative are available at missourifordogs.com.

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