Missouri lawmakers are working toward improving what folks saw last November as Proposition B. Instead of picking on Missouri’s best dog breeders and our right to raise animals, we are now one step closer to a law that makes sense.
This compromise protects the livelihoods of pets and the folks that raise them, without a repeal of the intent of Missouri’s voters.
Senate Bill 113 passed the Missouri Senate on March 10 and now moves on to the House. This measure would allow the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) to refer cases of unlicensed breeders to the Attorney General, circuit attorney or local prosecutor. It also makes it a crime to operate without a license, with punishment ranging up to a Class A misdemeanor. The bill also raises the cap on the license fee for breeders from $500 to $2,500 and removes the cap on the amount of dogs one person can own.
According to Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, the bill allows Missouri’s best breeders to stay in business. Currently, not one of Missouri’s more than 1,400 licensed breeders meets the standards of Proposition B. Instead of a law that is next to impossible for legally operating breeders in Missouri to follow, we would have rules that help keep the bad actors out of play. There is also wording in the bill that would let the MDA inspect facilities and root out those that are breaking the law.
I continue to argue that if we want to keep bad breeders out of business, folks need to be educated on where their pets come from. We also need to adequately fund inspectors within the MDA. Both sides support this argument, but are focusing instead on where they are divided on issues that simply do not work in the real world.
What was passed by voters last year was a clear message that Missourians desired improvements in the way we raise dogs in this state. The “yes” or “no” option presented to voters provided for no public debate, compromise or review like the legislative process. It also provided no details on how these goals would be met. Senate Bill 113 addresses real-world flaws in Proposition B, including the mention of domesticated animals within the law.
Nobody wants to see animals abused. All of us want animals to be raised in proper conditions. Unfortunately, Proposition B punishes dog owners doing a good job. The goal of the Legislature is not to undo the will of the people. It is to correct errors that would have put a lot of folks out of business for doing nothing wrong.
My hope is this measure will make it through the House and be signed by the governor. We need real leadership on this issue. I do not want to see any hard-working person put out of work, for no reason. Senate Bill 113 works toward making things right again by improving on Proposition B.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Stouffer: New law protects Missouri's best dog breeders
Thankfully for Missourians, who obviously always get initiatives wrong, but never elect the wrong fellows to office, we have politicians like Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, to help steer us in the right direction. In his latest column, Stouffer talks about the courageous decision legislators are making in tossing out Proposition B: