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Puppy Mills: A National Disgrace

You did it! Yes! to Prop B passed and it's all thanks to the kind and caring people that want to see a change for the better for dogs in this country!

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Dogs in a puppy mill cageThis Tuesday, Missouri voters will go to the polls to decide whether or not to put a major crimp in the puppy mill business. Prop B will raise the bar on commercial breeders in the state that is home to an estimated 30% of the nation's puppy mills.

Puppy mills are mass production facilities that crank out an estimated 4-5 million dogs annually that are sold in pet stores, over the Internet, at swap meets and direct to the public. It doesn't take a math wiz to understand that production puppies are both displacing shelter adoptions in the supply and demand marketplace of pet acquisition and directly adding to the burden on shelters...an estimated 25% of shelter dogs are purebred.

Best Friends is not interested in creating sustainable puppy mills.  We don’tPuppies in a puppy mill believe there is such a thing as a good puppy mill, but Prop B has some landmark components that will improve the lot of the poor animals trapped in these operations. Prop B will significantly limit the number of breeding adults allowed at any single facility and the frequency with which they are bred. Prop B would require that a female produce no more than 2 litters in any 18 month period and it would limit the number of adult dogs to 50. That's big.

Missouri's current laws do not provide for adequate exercise, care, or limits to the numbers of animals a breeder can have in their facility, some of which have more than 1,000 dogs. They are allowed to be kept in tiny, stacked, wire-bottomed cages, in squalid conditions, with little human contact and there is no limit to how often they can be bred. Currently a female dog can be forced to breed every cycle, with no rest in between, for years.  It is no life for man’s best friend.

One of our concerns prior to committing our support for the passage of PropPuppy mill dog B was for the animals that would be displaced from the mills. Breeders will have a year to come into compliance prior to enforcement. To assure that these dogs land safely, a growing network, currently numbering some 200 organizations, backed by funding from national animal charities in addition to puppy mill transport programs such as Pup My Ride stand at the ready.

Prop B is important. Puppy mills are a national disgrace and the simple fact that public consciousness of the issue is at a level to challenge a status quo that has been in place for decades is very good news. If you live in Missouri, vote yes on Prop B. If you know someone who does, ask them to do the same.

Gregory Castle, CEO emeritus, Best Friends Animal Society Gregory Castle
CEO emeritus
Best Friends Animal Society