The Bolivar Mo., High School auditorium was filled with over 600 people recently to hear what Missouri’s lawmakers plan to do, now that Proposition B (the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act) narrowly passed Nov. 2, 2010. Lawmakers in attendance were Senator Bill Stouffer of the 21st District, Speaker of the House Rep. Ron Richards, Senate Leader Robert Mayer and U.S. Congressman Billy Long.
Participants discussed Prop. B and the solution to ensure the law was not detrimental to the future of dog breeding or animal agriculture across the Ozarks. Sen. Parson took some time to dissect the proposition and referenced several points that he believed to be either unworkable or not useful. According to Sen. Parson, “There is no other industry that limits the number of animals a breeder can own across the board in this fashion.” He asked “Why is there a cap of 50 animals per breeder? Can breeders not hire employees for help?” Sen. Parson also questioned the need for exemptions that are written into the proposition. “Pet stores, animal shelters and others are exempt from the proposition. Why would we allow certain people or groups to not have to follow the same rules as everyone else?”
Sen. Parson went on to explain that if the proposition goes into effect as it reads now, it will transform minor issues (such as one simple morsel of food floating in a water dish) into a criminal offense. “Proposition B was almost entirely written by special interest groups (such as the Humane Society of the United States),” according to Sen. Parson.
Enforcement was another area of concern that Parson mentioned, stating “Our opposition believes this bill will help with enforcement, but there are already more laws on the books than what can be enforced. This proposition does nothing to correct the illegal or non licensed dog breeders. It only focuses on those who are legal and law abiding.”
As for what can be done from this point on, Sen. Parson will reintroduce the bill soon. Sen. Mayor, Protem of the Missouri Senate, gave a strong endorsement at the meeting, which puts the bill in a very favorable position for passage in the senate. Upon passing in the senate, it would then need to pass in the house and receive the Governors signature. 
According to Speaker of the House Ron Richards, “We need to communicate with our legislature on these issues and let them know where we stand. Sen. Stouffer also suggested speaking with friends and relatives who are from urban settings to inform them about the truth. “As a producer, you must care for your animals. It is difficult for urban people to understand that our animals are better taken care of than our family and we need to work on closing that gap of misunderstanding.”


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