Saturday, May 1, 2010

Live from Missouri: ASPCA Supports Landmark Puppy Mill Initiative

Home to an estimated 3,000 puppy mills —far more than any other state—Missouri has rightly earned the nickname “Puppy Mill Capital of America.” Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding operations where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. The overcrowding and lack of basic hygiene, veterinary care and exercise that are the hallmark of puppy mills create puppies with numerous health and social issues—but it is the breeding dogs, the ones who never get to leave, who suffer the most.

However, help is on the way! Missourians for the Protection of Dogs—a coalition made up of the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the U.S., the Humane Society of Missouri and the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation—is sponsoring a landmark ballot initiative to put the Missouri Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act before the state’s voters in November 2010. If the act reaches the ballot and passes, it will prohibit some of the worst abuses prevalent in Missouri’s commercial dog kennels—but the first step is gathering 130,000 signatures of support from Missouri voters by the end of April.

“The Missouri Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act is a crucial step in combating some of the most horrific cruelty perpetuated by commercial breeders in Missouri,” says Cori Menkin, ASPCA Senior Director of Legislative Initiatives. “It will provide dogs with basic humane care, including sufficient food, water, housing and necessary veterinary care—things that, unfortunately, are sorely lacking in many commercial breeding facilities.”

With only a few weeks left to go before the April 27 deadline, the pressure is on. Several ASPCA staffers have volunteered their time to help count and process the flood of petition signatures, and are currently on the ground in Missouri.

“I am so happy to be part of this historic grassroots effort,” says Tawnya Mosgrove, an Illinois-based member of our Government Relations department. “Our hope is not only to help the dogs in Missouri, but that other states will follow suit with similar initiatives of their own. The work here is hard, but the end result will be worth every blister on my finger!”

For more details about this landmark effort and a view from the frontlines in St. Louis, please read our blog report.

*Paid for by Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, Judy Peil, Treasurer

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