I sent this LTE to 12 Missouri papers. Your turn.
The voters of Missouri decided in November that it is time to upgrade the standards of care at mass puppy breeding facilities where the puppies are sold as pets. Note that this has nothing to do with breeders of show dogs or hunting dogs or dogs in general. It applies only to breeders of puppies to be sold as pets where the facility has more than ten productive female dogs.
It’s true that there is already a law regulating care standards at these facilities, but the breeders who are in it for the highest profit often ignore the warnings and citations they are given. Inspectors visit both licensed and unlicensed operations and have found deplorable conditions at some in each of those categories. So it is not true that only unlicensed breeders treat dogs inhumanely. The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act passed by voters in November will make it against the law to mistreat dogs. It is true that some breeders will still ignore the law, but they are less likely to abuse the animals if that abuse results in a more severe penalty.
Those of us who adopt puppies and dogs as pets consider them part of the family. As part of a family, they deserve the same care and protection during the birth process and in their birth homes as they will receive in our homes. Healthy pets contribute love and stability to families. People who buy puppies expect them to be healthy, well-cared for and socialized to be comfortable with humans. The old law covering conditions in puppy breeding facilities is 20 years old and was written to provide just basic survival conditions. To our credit, Missourians have become more compassionate and caring in the past two decades, and we want mother dogs and puppies to be treated the way they deserve to be treated as God’s creatures.
If a breeder cannot make a profit providing a safe, healthy environment for his animals, he should probably let others do it who can. Breeders who cut corners pass the cost on to the adoptive family in the form of high veterinary bills. This is not fair or right. Better Business Bureaus in several Missouri cities have lists of complaints lodged against puppy mill owners who have sold unhealthy animals to unsuspecting customers.
Females used for breeding need a rest period between pregnancies so their bodies can rebuild. At some of the worst operations in Missouri females are being bred every cycle until their teeth rot and they lose the strength to stand up. There are photos of females hanging in slings so they can be inseminated. When they stop producing healthy puppies, they are disposed of. What kind of people can do this to animals?
The Puppy Mill Cruety Prevention Act places no additional burden on breeders who are already treating their animals with care and respect. The new space requirements are reasonable. Even the largest outdoor enclosure required by Prop B is still smaller than a parking space at your local grocery store. The space requirements under Prop B are determined by the size of the dog. For example, a small dog requires indoor space the size of a sleeping bag and outdoor space that measures about half the size of the bed of a pickup truck. A medium sized dog requires indoor space the size of a twin bed mattress and outdoor space the size of a pool table. And a large dog requires indoor space the size of a standard elevator floor and outdoor space the size of a compact car. Giving dogs enough space to turn around, stretch their limbs, and exercise is just common sense.
For more information about the facts about Prop B, go to http://www.missourifordogs.com.
It is right and just to defend the defenseless.