Missouri Lawmakers To Consider Changes To ‘Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act’

HB131, if approved, would scale back the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.

A bill seeking to modify a voter-approved law that imposes new standards on Missouri’s dog breeders is scheduled for a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011.

House Bill 131, introduced by Republican Rep. Stanley Cox, would scale back the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, which was narrowly approved by voters in November 2010.

The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, also known as Proposition B, amends the law to require any person who owns more than 10 unaltered female dogs for the purpose of breeding to follow certain standards for feeding, veterinary care, housing, exercise and rest cycles between breeding. It prohibits anyone from owning more than 50 unaltered dogs for the purpose of breeding and selling the dogs’ offspring for pets.

The act spurred a heated debate that pitted animal rights groups against breeders and others in the industry who claimed the requirements were excessive and unnecessary. Although the measure has received voter approval, the debate doesn’t appear to be over just yet. State legislators have since introduced several bills, including HB 131, that seeks to modify or repeal the act.

As written, HB 131 would leave the act’s licensing requirements in place but eliminate the ban against having more than 50 unsterilized dogs over the age of six months.

In addition, HB 131 increases the number of female dogs a breeder must own before the provisions of the act become applicable from more than 10 dogs to more than 100. It also would delete the term “puppy mill” from the title of the act and eliminate the specific requirements pertaining to housing, space and veterinary care and rest periods between breeding cycles.

The House Committee on Agriculture Policy is slated to hear HB 131 on Feb. 15, 12:30 p.m., in the state Capitol.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) issued an industry alert today in which the organization called on individuals who support the right to breed pets and have pets to voice their support for the bill.

PIJAC claims many of the requirements included in the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act have no sound basis. It specifically raised issue with the ban on having more than 50 dogs. PIJAC continues to argue that there is no correlation whatsoever between the number of dogs a person owns and the quality of care those animals receive.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization also made the following arguments:

• A number of the provisions in the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act are inconsistent with the federal Animal Welfare Act;
• Requiring a veterinarian to see a dog for any condition is “completely irrational;”
• Temperature restrictions established by the “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act” are unnecessarily restrictive, inconsistent with health requirements of all dogs and ignore the needs of different breeds of dogs, as well as the conditions and acclimations of individual animals;
• Space and exercise requirements are not supported by prevailing science and research, are inconsistent with federal law, and are not necessary for the health and welfare of dogs.

To view the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act in its entirety, click here. To view HB 131 in its entirety, click here.

See related story:

Missouri Lawmakers Seek to Modify, Repeal Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act


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