The Missourians for the Protection of Dogs organization was formed specifically to promote the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act by placing the measure on the November ballot and advocating for its enactment. As part of these efforts, the organization arranged a petition to qualify the act for the ballot. On Sunday, the petition was submitted to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office with more than 190,000 signatures – approximately 75% more than was required.
"This can only be considered a massive outpouring of public support for the idea of puppy mill reform," said Barbara Schmitz, campaign manager of Missourians for the Protection of Dogs. "We ran into few people who were unaware of the problem, and so many of them are themselves enthused about voting to halt this cruelty in the November election."
The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act will improve the lives of dogs by requiring large-scale breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with such basics as sufficient food and clean water, necessary veterinary care, adequate housing, and adequate space and exercise. A recent Better Business Bureau report entitled "The Puppy Industry in Missouri: A Study of Buyers, Sellers, Breeders and Enforcement of the Law", stated that Missouri is "so overwhelmed by the number of puppy sellers that it can’t regulate the puppy industry properly".
Missouri is the latest of the seven states known as the "Puppy Mill States" (Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania) to attempt to tackle the problem. Earlier this year Iowa enacted legislation and a similar bill in Oklahoma now awaits the governor’s signature. Last year, a total of ten states approved legislation to address the problems of unregulated dog breeding.
Photo courtesy Missourians for the Protection of Dogs