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April 19, 2012

The HSUS Applauds Missouri House Members for Passing Bill to Repeal Puppy Tax on Shelters and Rescues

Urges Senate to Swiftly Pass H.B. 1934 to Help Local Non-Profit Animal Welfare Groups

The Humane Society of the United States commends lawmakers in the Missouri House of Representatives for passing House Bill 1934, which would repeal a new state tax forced on local animal shelters and rescue groups. The bill, which passed with a final vote of 98 to 34, now goes to the Senate. The HSUS urges lawmakers to swiftly pass the bill.

“The repeal of this tax on local animal shelters and rescues will allow these life-saving groups to use their resources to care for abused and abandoned animals throughout the state,” said Anne Sterling, Midwest regional director for The Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to House members for passing this bill and urge the Senate to follow suit. Animal shelters and rescue groups are performing a service for the community, and they should not be taxed like commercial puppy mills.”

The HSUS expressed its thanks to State Reps. Noel Torpey, R-52, Jeanne Kirkton, D-91, and other cosponsors of the legislation to repeal the shelter tax, and to House leaders for working to advance H.B. 1934 swiftly. The bill’s passage demonstrates that the majority of members in the House recognize this is an unfair, unwarranted 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 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to grant hardship waivers to non-profit organizations that have difficulty paying the tax before it is completely repealed.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 will enhance the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s ability to crack down on problematic commercial breeders, which has improved dramatically. In the past year, the Department of Agriculture has stepped up enforcement significantly and has closed down several puppy mill operators, including several on The HSUS Missouri Dirty Dozen list. 

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: Heather Sullivan, 240.477.2251; hsullivan@humanesociety.org

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