Jul 31 2014

The “Right to Farm” Bill: What It Really Means

On August 5, 2014, Missourians will have the opportunity to vote on Amendment 1, also known as the “Right to Farm” bill. Because of this initiative’s misleading namesake, it is important for voters to know what the vague, open-ended language on the ballot really means. With potentially harmful effects on our farmers, farmland, and animals, it is pertinent that you are well educated about this issue before casting your vote in the upcoming election.

What You Need to Know

Deregulation of Puppy Mills & Animal WelfareRight-to-farm-bill

Animal welfare groups like the Humane Society of the United States have largely opposed this bill, as it is believed that it could lift state-mandated safeguards that regulate puppy mills and farm livestock. With Representative Jason Smith from Smith’s Kennels, one of the largest, family-operated dog breeder operations in Missouri, co-sponsoring Amendment 1, the personal agendas of the bill’s supporters are more concerning than ever. As a proponent of animal welfare, Wayside Waifs encourages you to vote no on this initiative to deregulate the puppy mill industry.

Empowerment of Foreign Corporations

Despite the bill’s intention to mislead voters, which appears to cater to the needs and wants of local Missouri farmers, the only parties whose rights this initiative caters to are those of foreign corporations and factory farms.  In fact, if Amendment 1 was added to the state constitution, it could undo previously passed legislation implemented to protect local farmers, farmland, and animals.

To put things in perspective consider the fact that Smithfield Farms, Missouri’s largest pig producer, has already been acquired by a Chinese aggregate. Additionally, a 50,000-acre plot of farmland was recently purchased by a Chinese corporation, wanting to open a factory farm. What makes these developments so concerning? Amendment 1 could disassemble legal checks and balances that are in place to protect the environment. 40 percent of Chinese farmland suffers from degraded quality.  This is directly correlated to pollution resulting from the lax environmental practices of large, profits-first corporations. Missouri land is a precious commodity, and it deserves to be treated as such.

Reduced Food Labeling

Missouri residents have the right to safely manufactured food and knowledge about its contents. However, Amendment 1 could result in the dismantling of efforts that succeeded in the implementation of better food regulation, specifically the labeling of GMOs. In recent years, Missouri farmers have been a large source for food produced from sustainable practices. With the quality of our food on the line, it is crucial that Missouri voters prevent Amendment 1 from being enacted in our state constitution.

Protect Our State

Your vote matters, so make it count. Missouri farmers, farmland, and animals are dependent on it. Before the upcoming election, educate family and friends about the negative effects this bill could have on the Missouri agriculture system, as we know it.

For more information about why you should vote no on Amendment 1, be sure to visit http://votenoon1.com/.


Jan 20 2012

The Amazing Transformation of Izzy

The day Izzy was rescued

The day Izzy was rescued

Commitment…  Patience…  Unconditional love…  Acceptance…  Powerful words with serious meanings.   But, all must become a basic way of life for anyone who is considering adopting a puppy mill rescue.  Some puppy mill rescues may eventually become fairly “normal” dogs, but others’ spirits have been so battered and broken that they will never truly recover, leaving them with permanent physical and/or psychological scars that will affect them for the rest of their lives.  Some will come with medical issues due to lack of proper nutrition, veterinary care and sanitary housing, while others will be plagued with psychological issues, most commonly an intense fear; both of people and of new situations.  And, due to their endless confinement, all will have a lack of understanding of the appropriate protocol for elimination.  Many will get better, but far more will not.  At least not completely.  But, now, thanks to the rescue efforts of Wayside Waifs, many puppy mill rescues are being given a second chance at life in a home where they will know love unlike anything they could ever imagine. 

 It was November 3, 2009 when 21 frightened and horribly neglected dogs were rescued by Wayside Waifs from their previous lives of pain and misery at a puppy mill in Camden County, MO.   As I watched them being impounded that day, I found that my heart was especially touched by two emaciated poodles; one gray and one cream colored.  It brought tears to my eyes to see their dirty matted fur, their incredibly long toenails, their filthy, rotten teeth, the wounds on their bodies from having to fight for their food, their swollen and stretched out mammary glands, and their wasted and worn out bodied from years of over-breeding.   And, more heart-wrenching still was seeing the dreadful fear in their eyes as they stood trembling at the uncertainty of their fate.  No matter how gentle the touch or how softly and kindly the words “It’s going to be OK” were spoken to them, they still could not comprehend that they were safe and that they were now beginning their journey to a life that would be filled with goodness.  In their frightened little minds, the past had proven to them that only bad things ever happened, so how could this scary new world be anything but a continuation of their previous life in hell?  Fortunately for them, time was on their side, and each would be allowed to adjust to their new-found freedom at his or her own rate.  Over the next couple of weeks I would often visit with my two little favorites; the gray and cream colored poodles, along with several others too.  I would spend some time just being with them every day, trying to help with their socialization, always telling myself that they would all be going to wonderful, loving homes, and that I would have to let them go, because the two dogs I already had at home were enough. Eventually, each of the rescues began their migration from the holding side of the building over to the adoption side, and one by one they started leaving Wayside, to a new and better way of life. 

It was one day in late November when I went to visit with one of the poodles that I found she had a new “roommate”, because her previous little buddy had recently been adopted.  Who was this pitiful looking schnoodle, and how in the world did I miss seeing her before now!!!?  “Darma”, as she was named by the staff, was cowering in the corner, pressing hard against the wall, trying to get as far away from me as she possibly could.  I reached out to let her sniff my hand, but coming from a place where no human contact had likely ever been kind, she had no intention whatsoever of coming anywhere near me.  But, Whispers, the cream-colored poodle, would now readily approach me, so I just continued to visit and snuggle with her, allowing Darma to skeptically look on from the security of her corner.  She looked so sad and lonely huddled there in the corner, but in all honesty, it was the sorrowful, pleading look in her eyes which, in the end, totally captivated me.  Regardless of everything I had told myself about not needing another dog, I really knew from the very first moment I saw her that she would eventually be coming home with me.  And, thanks to Wayside, I have come to discover a reciprocal love from an adorable puppy mill rescue who has come to mean the world to me.

So, I read as much as I could about adopting a puppy mill rescue, and after purchasing a couple of baby gates and placing a dog crate with the door left open in every room of the house, (so she would always have a safe haven close by), I thought I was well-prepared to bring home the newest member of my family.  I quickly learned, however, that nothing I had read had fully prepared me for life with a puppy mill rescue.  On the day of her adoption I went to her kennel, slowly opened the door, and gently lifted her out, at which point she immediately began to fight to get away from me.  So, I clutched her tightly to my chest, and just sat down on the floor with her and spoke to her in a calm, soothing voice, and once she relaxed and ceased to tremble I felt we were ready to go home.  I placed her in a travel crate, knowing that the car ride home would be particularly frightening for her, and that confinement while in the car would be the best option.  Nearly everything she would encounter now would be completely new to her, and for her, every one of those things would be absolutely terrifying.  It was heartbreaking to see the almost constant fear that she was suffering, but I was certain that, over time, she would eventually overcome those fears.  There would be progress.  It would be slow, but there would be progress.  Dedication…  Commitment…  Patience…  Unconditional love…  Acceptance: Progress… 

I immediately found that she didn’t actually need a crate in every room.  The only crate she ever would flee to was the one that she sleeps in every night.  Every “first” for her was incredibly difficult, and many of her fears of those “firsts” remained fears throughout the “seconds”, “thirds”, “fourths” and beyond.  The first time I put a leash on her she flopped around like a fish out of water, but it didn’t take her very long to adjust, and now she walks on leash really well.  Progress…

Her reaction to every new experience was to bolt, not really knowing where she was bolting to, or if the path that she was choosing was safe to take or not.  Everything she experienced initially sent her scurrying; the vacuum, television, doorbell, dishwasher…  She no longer runs to hide from any of those things, although she does still prefer to keep her distance from the vacuum.  Progress…  Rain, snow, walking on the grass, or just being outside, were all horribly frightening to her at first, but now she loves to go out in the back yard, as long as I go out there with her.  Progress…  Once-in-awhile she still will have an accident in the house, but that is rare, so in that regard she is getting better.  Progress…  She has even learned what “go potty” means, and knows to eliminate at that prompting.  But, if I take her outside and she doesn’t actually need to go at the time, she will still squat when I say “go potty” and then come running over to me to receive her snuggles and praise.  She’s no dummy!  And, as terrifying as the first few baths were for her, she really doesn’t mind bathing now at all.  I found that giving her treats while bathing her provided her with something she desired to such an extent that she would willingly tolerate a bath, if she had to, in order to receive those treats.  Now, every time I even just pull back the shower curtain, she comes running into the bathroom and puts her paws up on the side of the tub – just in case it happens to be her bath/treat time.  Progress… 

Izzy today

Izzy today

I am fortunate in that I can take Darma (now *Izzy) to work with me every day.  Her comfort zone is under my desk, and although that is where she stays all day, except for when we go out for a walk, I still feel it is better for her than being at home, alone in her crate all day.  *So, how did Darma come to be known as Izzy?  When Izzy first came home with me, she still had her puppy mill look – a skinny, frightened pooch with dirty matted fur.  So, I thought that this “not quite beautiful on the outside yet” little girl needed a beautiful name, so I named her Isabella.  So, I groom, and I try to get her to the “beautiful” look, but after every bathing and grooming she immediately shakes her body and rolls around on the ground, only to rise up looking terribly scruffy and completely unkempt.  So, I decided that shortening her name to Izzy was more fitting to her crazy and cute, yet messy and disheveled look.

Nothing makes me happier now than to see her running at full speed around the back yard, sometimes chasing after my other schnoodle, and sometimes just running for the sheer pleasure of being able to run free.  Progress…  She is my constant companion, and in the comfort of her home, her eyes are bright, her stubby little tail is constantly wagging and she runs and plays like any “normal” dog.  Progress…  But still, whenever she encounters other people, or faces new situations, she reverts back to being that scared and distant recluse that made her way into my heart back on that cold November day. 

Oftentimes, when she is sitting on my lap, I will look into her soulful and hurt-filled eyes, and wonder of the fear that is behind them, and the painful memories that time can never erase.  It infuriates me that she, and so many like her, have been forced to endure a life filled with horrible torture and unspeakable pain, all so that some selfish, greedy breeders can make a buck.  Yes, hundreds have been saved, but sadly, thousands remain imprisoned, daily suffering a fate that is far worse than death.  We can’t give up on them.  Wayside Waifs will not give up on them.  One by one by one we will do our best to offer these survivors the life that they deserve.  And, to all of the other Izzys out there – We will not forget you.  We will not abandon you.  We will not stop fighting for justice for you.  We will not.  WE. WILL. NOT.  Progress…

 

Written by Karen Brown
Lead Development Associate at Wayside Waifs


Mar 5 2010

Wayside Leads the Pack in Support of Proposed Bill

You Can Save the Lives of Thousands of Dogs in Missouri!

You Can Save the Lives of Thousands of Dogs in Missouri!

Wayside Waifs has joined forces with Missourians for the Protection of Dogs and the Humane Society of the United States to clean up Missouri Puppy Mills. Wayside is in full support of the proposed Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act and is encouraging Missouri voters to visit our shelter during weekends in March to sign the official petition. This gives Missouri voters a quick and convenient way to lend their support to this important campaign.

If you are not familiar with the petition or proposed bill, here is an article written by Courtney Thomas, Director of Operations at Wayside Waifs that discusses the proposed bill and how it would impact the lives of thousands of dogs in the state of Missouri.

Being known as the 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, we need to stand up and shout to end the inhumane operations know as puppy mills.  Driven by money, not by care, concern and 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, or online 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 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 try concern for 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 Prevention for the 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 the help of Missouri voters! More than 130,000 signatures are needed from registered Missouri 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 our shelter at 3901 Martha Truman Road, Kansas City, MO to sign the petition.

The act would require:
1. Sufficient food and clean water
2. Necessary Vet Care
3. Sufficient housing, including protection from the elements
    eliminating wire-floored cages
4. Sufficient space for dogs to turn, 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 

Help Wayside Waifs collect the necessary signatures to end the suffering of dogs subject to live on one of over 1,500 puppy mills in Missouri.  No longer do we want to be the puppy mill capital of the nation currently failing the 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 Trish Stinger, Web Marketing Manager and
Courtney Thomas, Director of Operations
at Wayside Waifs


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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