Proposition B, which will take effect in a year, hopes to buff up Missouri’s laws by restricting commercial breeders to no more than 50 dogs for breeding. This new law will free up more living space for the dogs, and has a new requirement for commercial breeders to have their dogs examined yearly by a vet.
The measure contains strict rules requiring clean water, adequate living space, and daily feeding of the dogs. For breeders with indoor dogs, the proposition makes it mandatory to give the dogs unlimited access to an outdoor yard for daily exercise and play. Breeders will be restricted to not breeding any dog more than twice every 18 months.
Violations to the law will be considered a misdemeaner crime, carrying the punishment of up to 15 days in jail and a $300 fine. Small breeders who are currently exempt from puppy mill measures will remain exempt under the new proposition.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, the measure was partially drafted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The ASPCA said that the measure is a necessity to regulate Missouri’s 1,400 licensed commercial dog breeders and the hundreds of suspected breeders who operate under the table.
The passing of Proposition B is a great victory for Missouri, where members of the Tea Party, along with “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, created Alliance for Truth, a group that opposed the puppy mill legislation. They considered it to be an unwelcome government intrusion. The Alliance stated, “While unemployment rates continue to rise, Proposition B will cause more small businesses to go under and put many Missourians out of their jobs.”
Barbara Schmitz, the campaign director for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, stated on the Humane Society’s website that her organization is “grateful the citizens of Missouri [voted] to crack down on puppy mill abuses and to establish common-sense standards for the care of dogs. Finally these animals will have relief from being crammed into small and filthy cages, without veterinary care, exercise, or human affection. ”
She added, “If we can do it here in the nation’s largest puppy mill state, we are more likely to carry the day with reforms enacted in other states, where this cruel industry is not nearly as strong and entrenched.”