Jan 15 2010

Wayside Waifs Support Puppy Mill Initiatives in Missouri

Dogs at a puppy mill

Dogs at a puppy mill

Being known as the leading puppy mill state in the nation certainly isn’t something to brag about.  It is especially concerning to organizations, such as Wayside Waifs, who work assiduously to promote the well-being of companion animals.  As a state, as a community, as a nation, we need to stand up and shout to end the inhumane operations known as puppy mills.  Driven by money, not by care, concern or reverence for life, these heartless breeders must be held accountable for their despicable actions. 

If you knew the mother of the puppy you purchased from the pet store, online or from the breeder in the newspaper was being forced to breed even though she has mammary tumors, lice, cataracts, joint problems, was blind, suffers from urine burns, has missing limbs – and the list could go on and on -would you still purchase that puppy?  Would you still look at that cute puppy’s face the same way if you knew that the parents of your pup were forced to live in crowded conditions, on a wire floor covered with fecal matter, with limited protection from the elements, with a seldom reprieve between litters, and rarely having felt the hand of a human?  Sadly, these conditions are the reality for thousands of puppies across the state of Missouri every day.  In addition, thousands of Missouri puppies are sold and shipped across the country every month.

Even more disheartening is the fact that many of these breeders are licensed, even though living conditions for their animals are substandard.  Adequate government resources have not been allocated in a way that enables the proper monitoring and follow-up on these puppy mill breeding operations.  On occasion these breeders are forced to downsize (which could take them from inventory levels in the hundreds down to maybe fifty animals), but rarely are they completely prohibited from forcing the life of misery upon animals in the future.  Often the animals caught in the “downsizing efforts” end up on the auction block to be sold to other breeders with the same money-hungry mentality verses true concern for the health, well-being and quality of their offspring.

The good news is there is hope!  The Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, Humane Society of Missouri, The Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have joined forces and are spearheading efforts to get the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act placed on the November 2, 2010 ballot.  However, getting the act on the ballot requires your help!  More than 130,000 signatures are needed from Missouri registered voters by April 27, 2010.

Staff from Wayside Waifs have been certified to collect petition signatures, and members of the public are encouraged to visit the shelter at 3901 Martha Truman Rod, Kansas City, MO to sign the petition and make this desperately needed legislation a reality for the animals in the State of Missouri.  The act would require:

1. Sufficient food and clean water
2. Necessary vet care
3. Sufficient housing, including protection from the elements and eliminating wire-floored cages
4. Sufficient space for dogs to turn and stretch, lie down, and fully extend their limbs
5. Regular exercise
6. Adequate rest between breeding cycles

The entire ballot initiative can be found at http://www.sos.mo.gov.elections/2010petitions/2010-085.asp

In addition to the efforts the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, The Humane Society of Missouri, HSUS, and the ASPCA; Governor Nixon and his administration has taken a strong stand to improve the conditions of unlicensed and substandard breeding operations in Missouri.  It is a great start, but we still have a long way to go!  Launched in February of 2009, the initiative is called Operation BARK Alert.  Public who have concerns about the breeder now have a way to easily report the situation online at http://mda.mo.gov/animals/ACFA/barkalert/.  Phase two of this initiative, Prosecution Bark Alert, was launched in June of 2009.  This is the first time that the Attorney Generals Office and the Department of Agriculture have joined forces to take legal action against breeders.

Help Wayside Waifs collect the necessary signatures and end the suffering of dogs subject to live on one of over 1,500 puppy mills in the state of Missouri.  No longer do we want to be the puppy mill capital of the nation, currently failing to comply with Missouri laws related to animal welfare and the Animal Care Facilities Act passed in 1992.  With your help, we can become known as the state that truly cares about the welfare of our animals.

Written by Courtney Thomas
Director of Operations at Wayside Waifs


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