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March 28, 2012

The HSUS Says Key Lawmakers are Absolutely Right in Pressing to Repeal Puppy Tax on Shelters and Rescues

Full Missouri Legislature Should Take Action to Undo Damage of Unfair Taxes

The Humane Society of the United States expresses its thanks to Missouri State Rep. Noel Torpey, R-52, and seven co-sponsors for introducing House Bill 1934, which would repeal a new state tax forced on local animal shelters and rescue groups. 

This legislation, which follows a bill introduced earlier this year by Rep. Jeanne Kirkton, D-91, shows bipartisan support among key leaders in the General Assembly to respect the will of the voters and repeal this unfair and punitive shelter tax. The HSUS began pressing for repeal of this tax as soon as it came to light after last year’s effort to undo portions of the voter-approved ballot measure setting standards for the care of dogs in large-scale puppy mills. H.B. 1934 has a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday, March 29, and The HSUS urges the committee and the full legislature to swiftly pass the bill.

“We applaud the introduction of this bill and are optimistic that it will pass quickly,” said Anne Sterling, Midwest regional director for The Humane Society of the United States. “The repeal of this unfair and punitive tax will greatly enhance the ability of local animal shelters and rescue groups in Missouri to provide for the welfare and safety of abused and abandoned animals throughout the state.” 

H.B. 1934 will phase out the “puppy tax” over two years, and give the Missouri Department of Agriculture the authority to grant hardship waivers to non-profit organizations that have difficulty paying the tax before it is completely repealed.

This legislation represents a strong signal from leaders of the General Assembly that state lawmakers recognize the importance of respecting the will of the voters and passing common-sense animal welfare measures supported by the citizens of Missouri.

The legislation will help the state crack down on puppy mills that masquerade as phony animal rescue groups. The Department of Agriculture has already made great strides to crack down on these operators, but this legislation will give the Department the ability to promptly deal with this continuing problem.

The HSUS, along with Stray Rescue of St. Louis, Mo., and Dogwood Animal Shelter in Osage Beach, also filed a constitutional challenge in Cole County in 2011 to overturn the removal of the tax exemption. 

Media Contact: Jordan Crump, 301-548-7793, jcrump@humanesociety.org

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