I’m going to try to do a series of posts over the next two weeks about the various candidates and issues on the ballot in Missouri on Nov. 2. The first of these that I’d like to share some thoughts on is Proposition B, the so-called puppy mill initiative.
This is one of the many initiatives that is being funded by out-of-state interests on the November ballot. The Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups from outside Missouri have largely bankrolled the efforts to get it on the ballot and get it passed. Essentially it would codify a whole new set of regulations for dog breeders and create a new crime of operating a puppy mill that would have certain penalties.
Now, there are already a set of regulations in place by the state on breeders and kennels, and local authorities also usually have sets of regulations and standards that breeders and kennels must follow. There’s not a whole lot of new things this initiative would do except expand the state’s regulatory framework at the cost of cities and counties.
The most ridiculous thing about this measure, however, is that its proponents are trying to use increased regulations and statutes to go after people who don’t follow regulations and statutes to begin with. The people who operate real puppy mills don’t care what the state says about quality of care of their animals, and the people who do care do the things the statute would require anyway. And, like I said before, a lot of those things are already covered by existing state laws or local regulations. The only people this law would affect are legitimate breeders who follow the rules, not the people who don’t follow them to begin with.
The AKC has come out against this measure, and rightfully so. I’m all for making sure pets are treated properly, and I think the proponents of this measure have the right ideas at heart, but the way they’re going about it is not the best. The money being spent on its ballot placement and passage would be better spent lobbying for better enforcement of existing laws, not more legislation and regulation.