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When Missouri voters walk into the ballot box on November 2nd, one of the things they’ll be asked to decide on is Proposition B. If it passes, Prop B will lead to more regulations on dog breeders in Missouri. KSMU’s Justin Lux spoke with supporters and opponents and brings us this report.
Right now, I’m standing next to the cage of a small Lhasa Opso at the Southwest Missouri Humane Society. This dog was one of about 100 dogs rescued from a Camden county kennel in September. The owner of that kennel was unable to afford caring for the dogs and made a phone call to ask for help. Supporters of Prop B say this is just one example of why the initiative is needed. Opponents, however, say the initiative will detrimentally affect all breeders across the state—even the ones who are breeding legally.
“We have some extremely good regulations on the books,” says Dr. Michael Phander, a Springfield veterinarian. He’s against Prop B, and says it’s completely unnecessary.
“Those regulations are there, those regulations are a lot more specific in that they address all the different situations that can come up. The problem is we need enforcement,” says Phander.
“No, unfortunately it’s just simply wrong," says Barbara Schmitz, the campaign manager for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs.
“The existing laws are outdated and they’re very vague and they’re pretty weak,” she says.
Schmitz points to the fact that the current legislation has been on the books for the past 20 years, and yet, she says, Missouri continues to be considered the capitol of illegal dog breeding.
Proposition B would prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling as pets. It would require a resting period for dogs between breeding cycles, and ensure that all dogs have food, clean water and veterinary care. It would also create a misdemeanor crime for anyone who is found guilty of practicing illegal breeding procedures.
Tim Ricki, the field director of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says that Prop B is necessary. He was on the scene helping when the Camden County dogs were rescued in September. He says this has been long time coming.
“This is an issue that has been going on for a long time and it’s not getting any better. We have tried to work with the breeding community in Missouri and tried to get them to self-regulate themselves and they have not done that,” Ricki says.
One organization that is working hard to prevent Prop B from passing is the Alliance for Truth. Anita Andrews, its director, says she expects to see a flurry of raids on breeding facilities in the coming weeks. However, she questions the validity of these raids, saying the Humane Society plans it that way just so they can get all the headlines at the very end of the election season.
In the end, Andrews says Proposition B is after only one thing.
“Obviously this bill was not meant to save any animals at all. It has one purpose and one purpose only and that is to eliminate all the legitimate breeders in Missouri, that they can possibly eliminate,” says Andrews.
For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.