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March 9, 2011

HSUS Releases Update on Missouri's Worst Puppy Mills

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USDA

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Senate gave its preliminary approval last night to SB 113, sweeping legislation that repeals every core provision of Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, and reverts back to the weak laws that allowed the inhumane treatment of thousands of dogs in Missouri’s puppy mills. Prop B was favored by voters in 18 of 34 Senate districts. The Senate is expected to take final action on the repeal bill tomorrow.

“Some lawmakers are not only thumbing their noses at a statewide vote of the people, but are also voting against their own districts,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “Whether you care about protecting dogs from abuse, or care about the democratic decision-making process, this assault on the will of the people must be stopped.”

While the leaders of the repeal effort repeatedly claimed on the Senate floor last night that licensed breeders are not a problem and they want to focus only on unlicensed operations, Missourians for the Protection of Dogs released a new report today demonstrating major continuing problems in licensed puppy mills. The new report on “Missouri’s Dirty Dozen”—reportedly some of the worst licensed puppy mills in Missouri, including six new licensed kennels of concern—demonstrates that many of the worst puppy mills in the state are still licensed and in business six months after their histories were made public. Advocates say the improved standards in the new Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act (Proposition B) must be allowed to take effect in November, as approved by Missouri voters, to address the cruelty.

Read the new "Dirty Dozen" report on the worst puppy mills [PDF] »

Nine of the 12 “Dirty Dozen” puppy mill producers identified in October 2010 are still state and/or federally licensed in 2011, according to the report.  According to their most recent USDA inspection records, many are still depriving dogs of the basics of humane care, such as shelter from the bitter cold, adequate food and water, and basic veterinary care for illness or injuries. The 26-page report, compiled by The Humane Society of the United States, was released at a press conference in Jefferson City.

“The licensed puppy mills identified in this report have an undeniable record of flagrant disregard for even the most minimal humane care standards for dogs,” said Pacelle. “The legislature should help with enforcement of Prop B by providing more funding for the inspections program, rather than working to dumb down the law and reverse the decision by voters for stepped-up attention to the dog-welfare problems at mills throughout the state.”

The violations, drawn directly from federal kennel inspection reports, include sick or dying puppies who had not been treated by a veterinarian; dogs and puppies found shivering in the cold in 28 degrees, dogs with oozing, open lesions and injuries that had not been treated by a vet; puppies with their feet falling through wire cage floors; and dogs so emaciated that their bones were clearly visible through their skin. At Hidden Valley Farms in Greencastle, USDA inspectors found six puppies with “raw, moist, red” open wounds on their tails with “what appeared to be bone/ cartilage” exposed to dirt and flies after the breeder allegedly performed botched home surgeries on them rather than taking them to her vet.

Six new kennels of concern were added to the list, including one kennel (Simply Puppies in Hannibal) where a dog was found dead in an outdoor enclosure in bitter cold temperatures of just 28 degrees, and another facility (Sunset Ridge Kennel in Princeton) where dogs were found last summer with signs of “heat stress” and “heavy respiratory effort” inside a building with a heat index of more than 114 degrees, according to USDA inspection reports. A dog at Sunset Ridge Kennel was found “sprawled and flattened on the wire floor of the cage” as she panted in the heat, according to inspectors.

The cruel conditions noted in the report, such as dogs suffering and sometimes dying in extreme heat or bitter cold, dogs suffering from untreated injuries, dogs confined in cramped cages with no exercise, and dogs deprived of adequate food and drinkable water, will be addressed by Proposition B -- but only if it is allowed to go into effect as written and passed.

In November 2010, nearly one million Missouri citizens voted to pass Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, and the measure passed in a majority of state House and state Senate districts. Prop B simply requires that commercial puppy producers provide breeding dogs with daily access to nutritious food, continuous access to drinkable water, veterinary care for illness or injury, safe housing, adequate space, and room to exercise.  Prop B will increase and facilitate local law enforcement because it provides clear standards that sheriffs and prosecutors can understand, as compared to the existing vague and highly technical puppy mill regulations.  Prop B does all this without wiping out or eliminating the existing laws and penalties.

The protections outlined in Prop B will apply to all large-scale commercial dog producers whether the owner is licensed or not, and will ensure that dogs in large-scale commercial breeding facilities receive basic humane care.

Click here to see full report

Four-page summary of the report can be found here.

More information is available at www.MissouriforDogs.com.  

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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