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October 7, 2010

Dog Advocates Ask Missouri Attorney General to Crack Down on Deceptive and Illegal Campaign ‘Robocalls’

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop B – a coalition of individuals and animal welfare organizations supporting the ballot measure to stop puppy mill cruelty – has filed a legal complaint with the Missouri Attorney General alleging that opponents of Prop B are harassing Missouri voters with illegal and misleading automated telephone calls – also known as “robocalls.”

The so-called Alliance for Truth – a political committee funded by puppy mill operators – is apparently sponsoring the calls, which not only violate the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, but also offer a host of outlandish and false claims to anyone unlucky enough to receive one of the automated calls.

Federal law requires all robocalls to include the identity of the party initiating the call at the beginning of the message, and the telephone number or address of the party initiating the call. The Alliance for Truth recording includes neither of these identifying items, even though Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sent a notice to all political committees in August advising them of the rules.

“All dogs deserve basic food, water, housing and veterinary care, and that’s exactly what Prop B provides,” said Barbara Schmitz, campaign manager for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop B. “Voters deserve straight information about the cruelty of Missouri’s puppy mills, not garbled falsehoods from shadowy front groups that don’t even identify themselves on the phone.”

At puppy mills in Missouri, dogs are crammed into small and filthy cages, denied veterinary care, exposed to extremes of heat and cold, and given no exercise or human affection. These puppy mills are cruel and the way these dogs are treated is wrong. Prop B will stop puppy mill abuses by establishing common-sense enforceable standards for the care of dogs in Missouri, including requirements that dogs in puppy mills be provided with clean water, adequate food, exercise and regular veterinary care. Reputable breeders are already complying with these standards and will not be impacted by the measure.

Prop B is supported by Missouri veterinarians and veterinary clinics; animal welfare charities and organizations, including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, Central Missouri Humane Society, Humane Society of Southwest Missouri, Wayside Waifs, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), Best Friends Animal Society and The Humane Society of the United States; prominent Missouri figures such as Tony La Russa and Linda Bond; as well as responsible dog breeders, elected officials, religious leaders and Missouri businesses.

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

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