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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Prop B Editorial from Dr Cindy Sprigg, Cross Point

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

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Dr Sprigg is a practicing veterinarian at Cross Point Animal Hospital, Cape Girardeau, MO; is the current President of the Western Veterinary Conference, USA; has chaired the Federally mandated Animal Care and Use Committee of the Oquedo Center, Las Vegas, NV; and currently serves on the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association Animal Welfare Committee
Prop B -- What's it Really Asking?

Proposition B is cited as the Puppy Mill Cruelty Act. The stated purpose of this Act is to prohibit the cruel and inhumane treatment of dogs in breeding facilities. The Humane Society of the United States filed Proposition B with the MO Secretary of State. Could the HSUS really be unaware that Missouri has in effect perhaps the most strict animal care legislation in our country today?

The Animal Care Facilities Act became Missouri law August 28, 1992. This Act governs animal care facilities of all types in Missouri. The ACFA is 23 pages of well thought-out regulations established by a 13-member committee representing of a variety of animal industries in Missouri. Canine breeding facilities fall under the governance of this law.

Proposition B admirably and appropriately addresses a number of areas of canine husbandry and care but is less comprehensive than the ACFA. Supporters of Proposition B argue that dogs could be housed in wire bottom kennels only inches longer than their body length for their entire lives. Such a life of confinement certainly constitutes cruelty and is strictly prohibited under the existing ACFA. The Animal Care Facilities Act not only addresses appropriate housing, but all areas of animal husbandry including diet, exercise, and socialization as well as medical care and humane euthanasia when necessary. In fact, the ACFA is more detailed, more thorough, and more specific in the care mandated than Proposition B.

Licensed, law-abiding breeding facilities would provide better care under the guidelines of the ACFA than under the sole guidelines of Proposition B. For example, Proposition B does not require human contact for dogs whereas the ACFA does. Proposition B requires only an annual veterinary examination, whereas ACFA requires regular veterinary supervision of the entire facility. Proposition B allows whelping twice in an 18-month period whereas ACFA allows a veterinarian to determine whelping frequency. Undoubtedly, compliance with ACFA totally prevents animal neglect and cruelty in canine breeding facilities.

So what does Proposition B change? One must understand that "B" applies only to breeding facilities and specifically to facilities having more than 10 breeding female dogs. Proposition B caps the total number of breeding animals, changes required space per dog, allows local law enforcement to address violations, and decreases the penalty for care violation. Let us consider each of these changes.

Proposition B would limit the total number of breeding animals to no more than 50. Current law regulates the manner of care of breeding animals without restricting the total number of breeding animals. In other words, no amount of care, space, or attention would allow any Missouri kennel to own more than 50 breeding animals.

Proposition B requires a larger total space per dog and unrestricted access to the outdoors. For example, under the governance of "B", two Yorkshire terriers housed together would require 72 square feet of kennel space two-thirds of which would be outside. Two Cocker Spaniels housed together would be required to have 120 square feet of space with two-thirds of that outside. Opponents of "B" argue weather extremes of Missouri and unrestricted access to the outdoors pose a threat to the well being of their dogs not to mention the danger of a female whelping outside on a cold night.

First time violations of Proposition B are a Class C misdemeanor whereas first time violations of the ACFA are a Class A misdemeanor. Local law enforcement would have authority to enforce Proposition B whereas Inspectors of the Missouri Department of Agriculture are responsible for enforcing the ACFA. This is perhaps the most compelling argument for and against Proposition B and is unfortunately the least addressed component of the Proposition. Will enforcement occur more quickly? Will a lesser penalty invite more citations? Does local law enforcement of rural Missouri have the manpower and expertise to enforce animal care?

Missouri is estimated to have twice the number of breeding facilities than any other State. Unlicensed facilities undoubtedly represent the majority of problems and abuse. Anyone who has puppy-shopped has most likely witnessed the best and the worst conditions of animal care. In fact, the consumer is the most integral part of correcting puppy mill cruelty. The Missouri Veterinary Medical Association and Missouri Department of Agriculture understand this fact. MVMA has published information on choosing a puppy and spotting substandard care. "Operation Bark Alert" gives consumers a direct hotline to report violations to the Mo Dept of Ag ( 573-751-4211, Barkalert.mo.gov). Since the launch of Operation Bark Alert, more than 3,700 dogs have been rescued, 164 substandard kennels were closed in 2009, and another 180 to date in 2010.

Elimination of puppy mill cruelty is a priority of the Missouri animal industry. Rest assured that legislation mandating proper, humane animal care is in place. The question that Proposition B asks is that of kennel design, limits on animal ownership, and burden of enforcement.


Comments
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Thanks, Dr. Sprigg. That's the best explanation I've read thus far of Prop B.

Personally, I'd rather see the harsher penalties of the current AFCA apply to animal care abusers. Maybe some day we can have more inspectors to oust Missouris Dirty Dozen kennels and have better consumer awareness of how to report abuse.

-- Posted by Bookdoc on Sun, Oct 31, 2010, at 7:56 AM

There are several statements that could be misread in the article.

The author writes:

"Licensed, law-abiding breeding facilities would provide better care under the guidelines of the ACFA than under the sole guidelines of Proposition B."

Proposition B isn't a replacement for existing laws, it's an amendment. All aspects of the existing laws not modified still apply. So the statement about "sole guideline" is meaningless, and misleading.

Dr. Sprigg also writes:

"Supporters of Proposition B argue that dogs could be housed in wire bottom kennels only inches longer than their body length for their entire lives."

The sentence makes it seem as if this is what Proposition B supports, when this is what exists today. Proposition B specifically mandates _against_ wire floors. Current ACFA regulations _allow_ wire floors.

In addition, Proposition B significantly increases the size of cages for dogs. Right now, ACFA defers to USDA rules for space requirements, which state a dog need only have 6 inches of space above their head, and the total square feet is twice times the length of dog, plus 6 inches. This is barely enough room for them to turn around, or lie down. They can't jump, nor can they stretch out.

Prop B space requirements are significantly larger including one feet of headroom and that the space must be enough for the dog to fully stretch out.

I am puzzled about her statement on the great outdoors. Surely as a veterinarian she knows that when dogs whelp, they seek the safest, warmest, most protected place to have their puppies. Why would she say that a dog would whelp outdoors? Totally nonsensical.

And dogs have a thing called a survival instinct. If it is too cold outside, they'll come in. That's just the way animals work.

Another statement she makes seems to me to be a deliberate one, and I'm extremely disappointed a professional veterinarian would make it:

Current ACFA laws state that an unlicensed breeder can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor -- there is no criminal charge if the person violates the regulations AND they're licensed. This law still applies. Proposition B adds an _additional_ capability to charge licensed breeders with violations of the regulations--such as starving the dogs, leaving them in outdoor kennels at 28 degrees without bedding, leaving their fur so matted that they can't walk, open sores and wounds--all of which are in inspection reports for currently active and licensed breeders.

If you want to see licensed breeder abuse, spend some time with the APHIS database--the USDA inspection db (the Missouri records aren't currently online). http://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/LPASear.... Search on breeder, Missouri, and active.

Then there's the Dirty Dozen report http://www.maal.org/index.asp.

The current legislation doesn't work. The BBB has said so, the USDA has said so, the Missouri auditor has stated this was true, not once, not twice, but three times.

http://www.maal.org/AuditHistory.asp

Folks, don't be mislead. Read the material yourself.

-- Posted by shelleyp on Sun, Oct 31, 2010, at 9:35 AM

There are several statements that could be misread in the article.

The author writes:

"Licensed, law-abiding breeding facilities would provide better care under the guidelines of the ACFA than under the sole guidelines of Proposition B."

Proposition B isn't a replacement for existing laws, it's an amendment. All aspects of the existing laws not modified still apply. So the statement about "sole guideline" is meaningless, and misleading.

Dr. Sprigg also writes:

"Supporters of Proposition B argue that dogs could be housed in wire bottom kennels only inches longer than their body length for their entire lives."

The sentence makes it seem as if this is what Proposition B supports, when this is what exists today. Proposition B specifically mandates _against_ wire floors. Current ACFA regulations _allow_ wire floors.

In addition, Proposition B significantly increases the size of cages for dogs. Right now, ACFA defers to USDA rules for space requirements, which state a dog need only have 6 inches of space above their head, and the total square feet is twice times the length of dog, plus 6 inches. This is barely enough room for them to turn around, or lie down. They can't jump, nor can they stretch out.

Prop B space requirements are significantly larger including one feet of headroom and that the space must be enough for the dog to fully stretch out.

I am puzzled about her statement on the great outdoors. Surely as a veterinarian she knows that when dogs whelp, they seek the safest, warmest, most protected place to have their puppies. Why would she say that a dog would whelp outdoors? Totally nonsensical.

And dogs have a thing called a survival instinct. If it is too cold outside, they'll come in. That's just the way animals work.

Another statement she makes seems to me to be a deliberate one, and I'm extremely disappointed a professional veterinarian would make it:

Current ACFA laws state that an unlicensed breeder can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor -- there is no criminal charge if the person violates the regulations AND they're licensed. This law still applies. Proposition B adds an _additional_ capability to charge licensed breeders with violations of the regulations--such as starving the dogs, leaving them in outdoor kennels at 28 degrees without bedding, leaving their fur so matted that they can't walk, open sores and wounds--all of which are in inspection reports for currently active and licensed breeders.

If you want to see licensed breeder abuse, spend some time with the APHIS database--the USDA inspection db (the Missouri records aren't currently online). http://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/LPASear.... Search on breeder, Missouri, and active.

Then there's the Dirty Dozen report http://www.maal.org/index.asp.

The current legislation doesn't work. The BBB has said so, the USDA has said so, the Missouri auditor has stated this was true, not once, not twice, but three times.

http://www.maal.org/AuditHistory.asp

Folks, don't be mislead. Read the material yourself.

-- Posted by shelleyp on Sun, Oct 31, 2010, at 9:35 AM

Sorry for the duplicate comment.

-- Posted by shelleyp on Sun, Oct 31, 2010, at 9:45 AM

Prop B does not replace existing laws, and it will apply to all large-scale puppy mills, including both licensed and unlicensed facilities, and it makes enforcement more likely. Each of these new criminal provisions better lend themselves to easy identification and prosecution by local law enforcement, because the officer can easily count the number of breeding dogs, etc., and could testify in court that the property had more than 50 breeding dogs without the need for experts. Likewise, it is readily apparent to local law enforcement if someone is failing to provide outdoor access for dogs. Under existing law, you need a tape measure, a calculator, and animal handlers to determine if the space requirements are being violated.

Fifteen states recently passed strong laws cracking down on abusive puppy mills, including major agricultural states, giving dogs basic humane standards of care such as food, water, veterinary care, exercise and shelter. Missouri is the largest puppy mill state, but is lagging behind on dog protection--that's why Prop B is needed.

-- Posted by AnneHSUS on Sun, Oct 31, 2010, at 4:59 PM

According to an artical in the" Rural Missouri" magazine this week by Dr. Alan Wessler,veterinarian, Prop. B is "A wolf in sheeps clothing" Here is just a little of what he wrote : The organization behind Proposition B is a "factory fundraising operation" not closley tied to local animal shelters and rescue operations, which do admirable work, recieve little to no funding from Humane Society of the United States.( HSUS )

An analysis of its 2008 tax returns shows that HSUS received $86 million of income. It paid out $31 million in salaries (more than the White House payroll), $24 million in fundraising expenses and $20 million in legal expenses ( HSUS thrives on stirring up conflict that allows for more fundraising)

Only $450,000 went toward the actual hands-on care of dogs and cats. That's less than one-half of 1 percent of the organization's income. This mean's for every $19 requested in the group's emotional TV ads, only one thin dime goes to the actual care of animals.( this is not all of the artical and I would encourage you all to read it in its entirity.)

This tells me that prop. B is another one of thier scams. I will vote NO

-- Posted by Just me on Sun, Oct 31, 2010, at 7:10 PM

Just Me, Proposition B isn't about HSUS. Did you have any comments on Proposition B?

-- Posted by shelleyp on Sun, Oct 31, 2010, at 9:44 PM

shelleyp this bill is all about HSUS, read more about them and maybe you'll question their reason for this.

-- Posted by big daddy 60 on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 3:14 AM

I want to first thank Dr. Sprigg for taking a stand on this issue. Your article is informative and well written. Thanks for doing your homework!

The only addition I would make is a question. The proponents of this emotional, misguided legislature have obviously never tried to get any law enforcement agency to take seriously an animal control issue. Whether it be dog fighting in progress or blatant abuse/neglect, city and county agencies put anything to do with these types of complaints at the very bottom of the list of priorities. Why wouldn't they? Like all other agencies charged with enforcement of our present laws, they are also severely understaffed and underfunded.

My question to the HSUS rep and her counterpart is this, if there is no enforcement of present statutes, what makes you think enacting more laws will make a difference? Read your state statutes regarding existing legislation. Local and county law enforcement are already named as the enforcing body. They simply do not have the time, patience, manpower or desire to deal with these violations.

Address enforcement of what we have now and then decide how best to address reform. Enacting laws, with no regard for the consequence is going to result in a catastrophic burden on our struggling rescues and shelters and a death toll that will put Missouri in the record books for the killing of companion animals.

-- Posted by Melanie Coy on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 9:46 AM

The fact that the recent forced closure of a large scale breeding operation with serious animal abuse allegations, should be in itself be proof that prop B is NOT needed. The existing laws need only be enforced.

People, do not be fooled by outsiders wanting to fund and mandate change. Follow the money. Who benefits the most from this? Certainly not the Dogs, which will mostly loose their lives as responsible breeders will be forced to downsize and adhere to prohibitive regulations forcing difficult choices in continuation of their operations.

Also, regulations proposed by Prob B are not substantiated by any research or facts that can be analyzed and challenged, just thrown out there with a bunch of pictures of abused animals in hopes the voters will line connect the dots.

-- Posted by DOG FANCIER on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 9:48 AM

I plan on voting NO to everything.

-- Posted by Egotistical_Bigot on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 10:09 AM

Shelleyp: Maybe you need to see if HSUS would hire you, so you could understand. HSUS IS Prop B. Missourians were only USED to initiate and promote it.

I just realized how they came up with the limit of 50 dogs. AnneHSUS says "because the officer can easily count the number of breeding dogs, etc., and could testify in court that the property had more than 50 breeding dogs without the need for experts." I guess she thinks Missouri cops can only count to 50.

Again, AnneHSUS, Prop B will NOT affect unlicensed breeders. The illegal breeders will just laugh at the new laws. They will prosper while legitimate breeders are driven out of business.

Vote NO on Prop B!

-- Posted by rek on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 10:35 AM

Proposition B from the SOS site: http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2010peti...

(9) "Pet" means any domesticated animal normally maintained in or near the household of the owner thereof.

Domesticated animals are cattle, hogs, turkeys, chickens, etc. I am really wondering why the word "pet" means domesticated animals. IF they get this definition in the state, will they be after cattle, hogs, goats, sheep, etc.?

This proposition is cleverly written: (8) "Person" means any individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, limited liability company, corporation, estate, trust, receiver, or syndicate.

This will get Cargill, Tyson, all the big animal industry in Missouri, along with all of the small farmers and larger. IF this passes, and "pet" definition is in the law, I am in trouble! If I have 20 cows, one bull and 20 goats and one billy. 42 head. Not a problem until they have little ones, BAM, I am in violation of the new law. I cannot keep farming with this amount of "pets" due to the costs of equipment, fuel, etc., and loss of income due this 50 limit.

(3) "Necessary veterinary care" means, at minimum, examination at least once yearly by a licensed veterinarian; prompt treatment of any illness or injury by a licensed veterinarian; and, where needed, humane euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian using lawful techniques deemed "Acceptable" by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

I have to have a vet check all my animals once a year, and have to use them to doctor ANY ILLNESS OR INJURY? I can doctor my dog for a cold or minor cut. I do use a vet for ANYTHING serious, but this states ALL. IF the pet rules apply to all domesticated animals, and I have to have a vet check all of them once a year, this will bankrupt me and most farmers very quickly.

They are REDUCING the feeding! By this proposition: (2) "Sufficient food and clean water" means access to appropriate nutritious food at least once a day sufficient to maintain good health; and continuous access to potable water that is not frozen, and is free of debris, feces, algae, and other contaminants.

Current MO law states that the breeders feed twice a day. IF they are wanting to help animals, why only feed once a day?

This is on the ballot. PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU VOTE! OVER $620,000 dollars are minimally required for this proposition out of our currently strapped budget. Please consider the ramifications that this proposition could do to the farmers of Missouri. I am dead set against ANYONE who is cruel to ANY animal. I would support this bill if it had a funding source, and went after the ILLEGAL "puppy mills" and stated just that. With the 164 MILLION dollars that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) currently has, why don't they fund this effort? Why take away more revenue from OUR TAX DOLLARS to fund their Proposition?

PLEASE VOTE NO ON PROP B!!

-- Posted by WalkingX on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 10:46 AM

Dr. Sprigg wrote a well thought out article.

As someone told me the other day, puppy mill need to be stopped, Prop B is just the wrong answer.

Let's enforce the law we have.

-- Posted by docksider21 on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 10:54 AM

Absolutely NO on Prop B

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 10:55 AM

Good point Walking X.

If the Prop B authors really wanted good care for dogs, why limit the number to be owned. If a good person is giving the dogs great care, why not 51, 65, or 100?

And what will our two local animal shelters do? I would bet they often have over 50 animals.

-- Posted by docksider21 on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 10:58 AM

Prop B has broad and mainstream support. It is supported by more than 100 Missouri veterinarians and veterinary clinics; more than 100 animal welfare charities and organizations, including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, Central Missouri Humane Society, Humane Society of Southwest Missouri, Wayside Waifs, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS); prominent Missouri citizens such as Tony LaRussa and Linda Bond; as well as responsible dog breeders, religious leaders, and Missouri businesses.

Puppy mills frequently raise dogs in shockingly poor conditions. The breeding dogs in puppy mills are typically confined to small wire cages for life without adequate veterinary care, exercise or individual attention, solely to produce puppies for the pet trade. Approximately 40% of all pet store puppies nationwide are bred in Missouri, where almost 200,000 breeding dogs produce up to a million puppies a year. Consumers across the country have reported purchasing Missouri puppy mill puppies with significant health and/or genetic conditions, causing high veterinary bills and emotional devastation for the families involved.

Please vote yes on Prop B! It's time to improve conditions for man's best friend who is forced to breed their entire lives and it's time to stop exporting sick puppies across the country.

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop B is not against stronger enforcement of existing law. Both strong enforcement and the provisions of Prop B will, in combination, have the biggest impact on the lives of dogs in Missouri's puppy mills. The two are not mutually exclusive.

-- Posted by Vote_Yes_on_Prop_B on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 11:08 AM

Interesting comments about HSUS from activistcash.com:

"There is an enormous difference between animal "welfare" organizations, which work for the humane treatment of animals, and animal "rights" organizations, which aim to completely end the use and ownership of animals.

The Humane Society of the United States began as an animal welfare organization. Originally called the National Humane Society, it was established in 1954 as a spin-off of the American Humane Association (AHA). Its founders wanted a slightly more radical group -- the AHA did not oppose sport hunting or the use of shelter animals for biomedical research.

In 1980, HSUS officially began to change its focus from animal welfare to animal rights. After a vote was taken at the group's San Francisco national conference, it was formally resolved that HSUS would "pursue on all fronts ... the clear articulation and establishment of the rights of all animals ... within the full range of American life and culture."

In Animal Rights and Human Obligations, the published proceedings of this conference, HSUS stated unequivocally that "there is no rational basis for maintaining a moral distinction between the treatment of humans and other animals." It's no surprise, then, that a 2003 HSUS fundraising mailer boasted that the group has been working toward "putting an end to killing animals for nearly half a century."

In 1986 John McArdle, then-HSUS's Director of Laboratory Animal Welfare, told Washingtonian magazine that HSUS was "definitely shifting in the direction of animal rights faster than anyone would realize from our literature." "

Be sure to conduct your own investigation. Voters should make themselves fully informed on Prop B and its proponents.

-- Posted by docksider21 on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 2:31 PM

More propoganda from the opposition. You should really review our annual report- the report we send to our 11 million members that hold us accountable and fund our work. We are transparent- are you?

http://www.humanesociety.org/about/overv...

This is about puppies and Prop B- oh- and puppies' mommies who spend their lives in cages with little proper care.

-- Posted by Vote_Yes_on_Prop_B on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 4:11 PM

Vote Yes

I did quickly browse the annual report.

The president's letter seems to me to use puppy mill and breeding operation interchangeably.

And there is an entire section on reforming farm practices.

Notably, you do not deny the animal rights agenda of HSUS. Is Dr Sprigg's calculation wrong? 72 square feet for two Yorkshire terriers.

There are comments that Prop B will not repeal ACFA. But that is the plan, isn't it. Keep the dogs from the cold outdoors and you violate Prop B. Allow them out doors and you violate ACFA for animal cruelty.

I am against puppy mills. But I am not for Prop B.

-- Posted by docksider21 on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 5:48 PM

All animals deserve humane treatment- even those used for food. My great grandmother, were she alive, would be having a fit over the industrial farming practices we have now. And the resulting environmental effects.

But, I digress, this IS about sick puppies and the quality of life for breeding dogs. Americans do not like seeing man's best friend treated like a cash crop.

Oh- btw- obviously, our 11 million members support our work reforming factory farming practices. They don't like to see industrial abuses of farm animals either.

-- Posted by Vote_Yes_on_Prop_B on Mon, Nov 1, 2010, at 6:54 PM

As I see it God gave us all the animals on earth for food and to be clothed. He also gave us ALL dominion over them. He DID not give animal rights groups and vets anymore dominion over them than any of us have. I see this as more Government intrusion and the laws on the books concerning "puppy mills" are all that are necessary. I also see much more money in the pockets of vets if this passes. Why wouldn't they support it? The "clearing house" (humane society) will be busy if this does pass so they better make sure they pay their gas bill to operate that incerator! VOTE NO ON PROP B...TODAY! 6AM--7PM

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Tue, Nov 2, 2010, at 5:34 AM

I wish you people who want to vote NO would see what a responsible breeding facility for dogs looks like. They would already be in compliance with the law and would go above and beyond in the care and comfort of their animals. The puppies would be handled and cared for by people so they would make good pets. Good breeders produce good dogs and are honest. The Mills are just for quantity breeding and profit. If you care nothing for the animals, what about the people buying the ones (that live) from a pet shop and then finding the pup has physical and mental problems after paying $400 plus dollars. This is an absolutely atrocious way to treat living creatures and it must stop! Vote YES. Something is better than nothing to help these dogs and of course, its all about the money, as usual.

-- Posted by ArcticFox on Tue, Nov 2, 2010, at 1:22 PM

Vote_Yes_on_Prop_B,

You've convinced me...to vote No. Keep up the good work.

-- Posted by WittenfetusFan on Tue, Nov 2, 2010, at 1:52 PM

Mom- good picture, good article. -R (:

-- Posted by rseabaugh on Tue, Nov 2, 2010, at 3:05 PM


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