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December 27, 2010

Billboards Remind Missouri State Lawmakers to Respect the Will of the People on Prop B

As returning and newly elected lawmakers arrive in Jefferson City to begin the 2011 legislative session, they will be greeted with a message from Missourians for the Protection of Dogs emblazoned on billboards along the highways leading into town: “Missouri voters have spoken. Will you listen?”

Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, passed in November with 52 percent of the statewide vote. It was favored by a majority of voters in 18 of 34 state Senate districts, and in a majority of House districts as well.

While some state legislators have pre-filed legislation or discussed plans to overturn the will of the people by repealing or weakening Prop B, Missourians for the Protection of Dogs is reminding lawmakers that the voters have spoken and that this issue was settled at the ballot box. The billboards are being installed in six locations entering Jefferson City, along state Routes 50, 54 and 63.   

“Missouri’s elected officials should respect the will of the people,” said Barbara Schmitz, campaign director of Missourians for the Protection of Dogs. “Subverting the judgment of voters is anti-democratic. Our system is built on majority rule, and a majority of Missouri favored Prop B. The voters acted precisely because the legislature has failed to stop puppy mill abuses.”

At puppy mills in Missouri, dogs are typically crammed into small and filthy cages, denied veterinary care, exposed to extremes of heat and cold, and given no exercise or human affection.

Prop B amends Missouri law to 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. The measure also prohibits any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets and creates a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations.

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs is a nonprofit comprised of numerous individuals 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, Best Friends Animal Society, and The Humane Society of the United States, as well as Missouri businesses, religious leaders, responsible dog breeders, and veterinarians.

A copy of the billboard can be viewed and downloaded here.

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