Beware Proposition B – Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

In an earlier post, Who Isn’t Against Animal Cruelty? But Proposition B Is Not the Answer, we had a number of commentors tell us how awful we were for putting financial considerations ahead of animal health and well-being.  The irony in these accusations is that the proponents of Proposition B are using financial means to drive legitimate, licensed breeders out of business for which there has been no denial, plausible or otherwise.  Breeders who do take into consideration their animals’ health and well-being.

Everyone should understand at least this one thing about Proposition B: IT DOES NOT AFFECT PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY OPERATING OUTSIDE THE LAW!

The truth is, Proposition B has nothing to do with animal welfare but has everything to do with animal rights.  A distinct difference exists between the two and both have financial consequences as well as consequences for the animals Proposition B purports to protect.

Licensed breeders in Missouri are required to provide for the welfare of their stock.  Not only are there standards set by U.S. Department of Agriculture and the State of Missouri, but business practices dictate that you produce a good, healthy product for the market to stay in business.  Puppy millers on the other hand are out to make a quick buck, move around and change names, etc.  Proposition B does nothing to stop the current illegal activity of this group of outlaws.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the real agenda behind Proposition B by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Unfortunately, they have been able to convince many well-intentioned people that they are “for animal welfare,” when they are really for animal rights. One need only look at measures they put into place in other states.

  • A ballot initiative in Florida prohibits the crating of mother pigs as “cruel and inhumane” treatment. This was sold as Proposition B is being sold, to eliminate this “barbaric” practice.  The only problem is, mother pigs are crated so they don’t roll over and kill their piglets! The pork industry in Florida is pretty much gone, taking the jobs it created along with it.
  • Proposition 2 in California sets up similar regulations for layers (chickens).  Although the proposition doesn’t go into full affect until 2015, egg producers and the jobs they produce are leaving California.  Egg prices have risen 60% already.

According to legitimate, licensed breeders, Proposition B actually reduces current animal care laws. For example, Proposition B calls for sufficient food and water to be provided.  Current law requires 2 feedings per day.  Proposition B requires only 1.

God forbid that the dogs have a piece of dog food stuck to their face and then get a drink of water where the piece of dog food falls into the water! The breeder is then subject to a Class C misdemeanor crime of cruelty!

Make no mistake about it, if all or even a majority of the nearly 1,500 licensed dog breeders in the state are put out of business because of the ineffective, unnecessary, puppy endangering regulations contained in Proposition B, the economy of Missouri will be impacted!  And sadly, those who are the real “puppy millers” will still be practicing their illegal trade.

The picture selected to accompany this blog posting was purposefully chosen.  It represents the many well-intentioned, active animal rescuers who have been deceived into thinking that Proposition B will lessen their animal rescue activities and take care of the animals they genuinely care so much about.

Proposition B is not the answer to “puppy millers.”  It is the answer for driving legitimate, licensed businesses out of business. In fact it’s not only the wrong answer, it’s not even a good guess!

Carl Bearden
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16 Responses to “Beware Proposition B – Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”

  1. Shelley says:

    And of course there’s no agenda among the anti-proposition B people, is there?

    Many of the “legitimate” licensed breeders have piled up violation after violation, but existing laws don’t have the teeth to shut them down. That’s one of the things Proposition B provides.

    Legitimate breeders also don’t need to have more than 50 female dogs breeding — anything else is nothing more than factory farming, which is both cruel, and inhumane for dogs.

    Dogs are not chickens. They need attention, affection, and exercise. They have been raised for thousands of years to be companions to humans. So what do the factory farms do? Remove any form of human companionship.

    Females are locked in cages–wire cages–for all of their breeding lives. Their only purpose is to breed litter after litter of puppies. They never have a chance to play, to run in the grass, to chase a ball. To get a pat on the head, or a loving cuddle.

    This is their life until they’re no longer capable of breeding, in which case they’re dumped on rescue societies, or killed.

    Puppies are not socialized at a young age. As soon as viable, they’re shipped off through puppy brokers, such as the Hunte Corporation, which ships 90,000 puppies a year.

    90,000 puppies a year!

    Legitimate business? What’s legitimate about the inhumane treatment of dogs?

    • Prentice Rodgers says:

      I am not a writer, so please excuse the grammar.
      Ok, who in their right mind would not go for an add sponsoring the abolishment of puppy mills. I viewed the puppy mill add, and I wanted to go after the owners myself. Now; last weekend, I was at a local Pumpkin Festival and I received literature on the subject from an independent source. Puppy mills are at the surface of a deeper issue. The proponents of the bill are adding underling issues on the proposition matter; such as, agricultural and conservation materials. The way I read it, proponents want to limit or even abolish agricultural and conservation practices.
      People live by these means, and with no regards to the livelihoods of these farmers, the proponents trudge forward to abolish what they are ignorant of. On the opposite side of the coin, the same proponents of this issue will gripe when meat prices go sky high, from removing agriculture applications or when wildlife critters create problems; such as, deer getting in roads, crops, and suburbs they again will lash out. I am by no means telling anyone how they should vote; I am however saying, “READ READ READ,” the whole ballot before voting.

  2. Ann says:

    A legitimate breeder does not breed dogs for the money. They do it to make the breed better and for the enjoyment of sharing the breed’s benefit with others.
    A legitimate breeder does not send their puppies on a truck to be marketed by companies like Hunte who sells thousands of dogs to resellers who charge hundreds for animals who could not pass a certified health test.
    A legitimate breeder knows each of their dogs by name-not by number.
    Your legitimate breeders exhaust females to the point of death and cast them aside to rescues.
    This bill is not perfect. But it is a start.
    If Missourians want to stick their heads in a big pile of feces left in a legitimate breeder’s crate, voting NO, then we can thank you for your vigorous support. True breeders who love their breeds as true companion animals are not afraid of this bill because their care is better than the bill’s standard of care.
    When I look into the eyes of my female Standard Poodle, who was beaten and abused for four years, purchased by people who also bought her brother to make a breeding pair, I will think of you. Her original owners believed the big moneymaking hype that Hunte runs in impoverished areas of our state promising big profits for a small investment. She and her brother never produced. Instead they were starved, hit, kept in a wire cage so long that they could not walk on regular floor surfaces. The same wire crate surfaces your legitimate breeders say are fine to keep dogs in.
    Carl, as I have said before…you do wonderful work. But your stand on this issue is unfortunate.

  3. Doug Edelman says:

    Most provisions of the bill either mirror current law, or REDUCE their effectiveness (fed once a day vs every 12 hrs currently for example). Even enforcement teeth is curtailed. Violation of “puppy mill cruelty act” is Class C Misdemeanor (30 days jail) vs current law of operating without a licence is a Class A misdemeanor (1 year jail). Licensed breeders must meet provisions of current law. See$File/Prop%20B%20vs%20%20ACFA.docx for side by side comparison of Prop B with current law. For more info, visit

  4. 1. Puppy millers, licensed or unlicensed will fall under the purvue of this Act. The Act covers people according to the number of breeding dogs they have, not just people holding a “license”. Hence, those people operating without a license, thus flying under the radar screen for Dept. of Agg. inspections because of their un-licensed status will in fact come under this Act.
    2. Food/water/space requirements are minimum. Anyone covered is free to do more! The ACFA does require food at intervals not less than 12 hour(unless dietary needs require LONGER intervals). This Act requires access to food at least once a day suffcient to maintain good health. If the health of the dog requires multiple small meals a day in SHORTER intervals and they don’t get that, this Act address that problem. ACFA does not.
    3. A single piece of food falling into a water bowl is not going to trigger prosecution under this Act. Please, let’s be reasonable in our examples. You insult your readers.
    4. Opponents to Prop. B routinely argue that this Act actually reduces the charge available ( to a Class C misdemeanor). However the Prop. B Act specifically states, ” If any violation of this section meets the definiton of animal abuse in section 578.012, the defendant may be charged adn penalized under that sectin instead.” ( Section 6 of Prop.B.) At section 7 it also states” The provison of this section are in addtion to, and not in lieu of, any other state and federal laws protecting animal welfare.” Enforecent personnel will be able to charge under the law they feel most suits the offense.
    5. The concept of a “legitimate breeder” being one that has over 50 dogs for purposes of producing offspring to sell is a slap in the fact to the real “legitimate” or reputable breeders. Responsible, reputable breeders breed for the betterment of the breed, both in health and in temperament. They are mindful of genetic defects in their breeding stock likely to be passed on to the offspring, and they breed AWAY from those defects. They also care about who ends up with thier offspring, whether they are going to carry on their careful developmemt of their line or not through indiscrimanant breeding. Therefore they ususally sell on a limited registratin or a spay/neuter contract. Legitimate breeders care about the environment the offspring will grow up in. Large breeding operations who sell their pups to pet stores lose all control over who gets their pups and what happens to them once they leave their breeding operation. Legitiment breeders will offer a guarantee or to take back their puppies. Breeders in excess of 50 dogs rarely, if ever make such an offer.

    6. Let’s not confuse the issue by talking about other states’ laws involving livestock. At issue here is legislation concerning “canis lupus familiaris or resultant hybrids” — dogs and wolf/dog hybrids — this is NOT about chickens, pigs, cows etc.

    7. You can criticize that fact that HSUS backs this, but the fact is that this is on the ballot due to the signatures of Missouri citizens.

    As a conservative Republican involved in animal rescue efforts I realize that this legislation is not perfect. Rarely is any legislation perfect. However, it is time to take a stand against the blotch on Missouri’s reputation that the puppy mill industry has bestowed upon us. Over 15 years ago a friend of mine tried to buy a puppy from a reputable out of state show breeder. She wouldn’t sell to my friend becasue she lived in Missouri — the puppy mill capital of the country, she said.
    If not for the welfare of the dogs, please consider the welfare of your constituents, who haplessly buy the puppy from the pet store, paying more than they should for a product that is of questionable genetic health. I have attended a dog auction where the genetic problems of dogs was disclosed to the puppy millers, yet the dog was touted as a good producer and purchased for the purpose of producing those cute puppies sold in the pet store, or on the side of the road or in a parking lot. Great breeding stock for that puppy your constituent is going to pay a high price for, right?
    For all the politicians complaining about Prop B– if it doesn’t pass, I’ll be anxiously watching for YOUR “better” proposal to end Missouri’s puppy mill problem. Thank you for your forum. Karenanne Fitzsimmons

    • Carl Bearden says:

      Illegal puppy millers already fall under the law. That’s why they are illegal.

      It’s a lot like illegal immigration. It’s already illegal to be in the US without going through the proper channels. The federal government chooses not to enforce the laws on the books. Putting more laws on the books won’t make illegal people legal unless you change the laws to accommodate them.

      Stepped up enforcement of existing laws is far superior than placing repetitive, punitive to legal breeders laws on the books. More laws will not make the illegal puppy millers any more illegal and will do nothing to stop them, period!

      BTW – there is no such thing as a “legal” puppy miller except in the proponents of Prop B world.

      I understand why Prop B supporters don’t want to talk about what has happened in other states where HSUS has passed similar initiatives that they misrepresented to the signers of petitions just as they did to people in Missouri getting Prop B on the ballot. Because if you do look at the record, very few people would be inclined to support Prop B.

  5. Mr, Bearden, based on your analogy to illegal immigration and enforcing the laws already on the books as opposed to adding more laws, I take it you are against the state of Arizona enacting their illegal immigration laws?

    Again, opponents would rather talk about HSUS than the contents of the proposed law. This is a red herring. I urge everyone to look at the wording of the bill and decide for yourself if you agree or not. I quoted from the proposed bill.

    Opponents are the ones suggesting that there are “legal puppy-millers when they use the phrase ” legitimate breeders” in connection with breeders having 50 breeding dogs. To say” illegal puppy millers already fall under the law — that’s what makes them illegal” begs the question — what are the conditions that are a violation under the act? To say an illegal act is illegal and that is why it is illegal is circular and does not advance the discussion.

    I ask that those opposed, if elected to the Mo. state legislature, support funding the Dept. of Agriculture with sufficient funds to enforce those laws addressing violations. It is obvious the opponents acknowledge there are problems in the commercial dog breeding business. Shelters are filled to the brim with adoptable dogs, yet they are put down because they are out of room and have no home for them; meanwhile the large commercial breeders pump out another litter, some of whom will end up in that shelter. I urge those opposed to Prop B to work to address those problems.

    For or Against Prop B, I welcome everyone’s help in the efforts to find loving homes for these companion animals. Please adopt, don’t shop and support your local animal shelter.

    Again, thank you for this forum for debate. Karenanne Fitzsimmons

    • Carl Bearden says:

      No comparison between Arizona’s illegal immigration law and Prop B.

      Unlike Prop B, the Arizona illegal immigration law does not target legal immigrants, Prop B targets legal breeders.

      Unlike Prop B, the Arizona illegal immigrations law actually changes law giving the state the power to enforce federal law, not duplicate existing state laws. Prop B seeks to institute arbitrary and capricious standards that does nothing to enhance existing dog breeding law in Missouri accept to make it financially difficult to do it legally.

      The “illegal” part is the failure to comply with existing laws of the State of Missouri. It’s not circular to say if the true puppy millers are already breaking the law now, there is no reason to think that Prop B’s passage will suddenly scare them into either quitting or complying with the law.

      Thanks for participating.

  6. julie says:

    WOW! We are state licensed small rescue organization in Mo. People I have talked to are greatly divided on this issue, but as rescue I can tell you what has been observed in the last two weeks.. Breeders with cars full of dog kennels sitting on sides of roads and in parking lots trying to sell as fast as they can, litters of pups. Fearful of impending election they are handing them out for as much cash as they can. If you start asking questions they become very threatened and tell you to leave. Every day of the week in several suburban towns in KC area. Be they legal or not, cars will still pull up and buy off the curb. Animals already in rescue are passed over because people feel they are saving these pups and ones in rescue are safe. In the meantime shelters are full of dogs due to foreclosures, puppy breeder busts and “too busy for rover anymore”. I believe I agree with you Mr Bearden, there are people who will skirt the law because they want the money and don’t care about the animals. or the poor person who spends thousands on vet bills after buying from a “buncher on wheels” But then I also agree with Ms Fitzsimmons because I respect my Ag guy and know what he has to deal with. The Ag dept doesn’t have enough manpower to do routine inspections. Much less run around and try to catch these curbside criminals. OPERATION BARK, on the Ag dept website is designed for anonymous reporting of unlicensed breeders and anything that is questionable regarding animal welfare.I submit, if each and every person who drives by and sees such an incident should report it immediately to the local police and animal control, who in turn should immediately notify the Ag Department.Perhaps the media should make this a public service announcement free of charge. But then even if they are busted, the shelters are already full, And a responsible rescue doesn’t take 50 or 60 puppies knowing full well that they risk spreading disease by mixing litters and then putting them out for adoption. The next step is for them to start dumping those pups on rural roads to starve like they did with pit bulls when city ordinances started banning the breed. I am so divided and heartbroken because this problem doesn’t have a magic wand solution. Most rescues detest breeders because of these problems but I am sure there are breeders who are still AKC and UKC registered breeders that do care about their lineage. What happens to these poor little furry souls whose lives are cut short? But then look at all the drug heads and teenagers who are having babies out of wedlock and expecting the system to solve the problem.
    Seems like every species is breeding like farm animals and expecting the state to clean up the mess at the expense of the taxpayer who is already pulling lint out of their empty pockets, to enable irresponsibility in these hard economic times. I was always told by my mom I had an answer for everything as a child, but now I am flabbergasted!! We will continue try to do our part, but it will never be enough I am afraid. All I can do is love the ones I have and try to find the best home possible however long it takes!! I leave this to the powers that be and will whistle blow if I see it instead of turning a blind eye. Best of luck to the lawmakers to get tough on these issues it is embarrassing to the rest of the country that Missouri is known more for puppy mills than the Truman Library.

  7. julie says:

    PS Shelly, I also agree with you because I took a litter of chihuahua pup from a breeder who was licensed and I had to grit my teeth. Although her facilities were clean and she was legitimate, she was clearly resentful that she could not sell the pups and had to ask the “enemy rescuer” for help. I try not to judge and I was cordial to her when I felt anger instead but when I got them home they could not even walk because their feet were bloody and sore from being on the plastic coated wire all of their 12 week old lives. Their pads were so weak they were half gone. It took antibiotics, soaking their feet in prep scrub and pad toughener and playing on soft grass for a month before they were even ready to be spayed and neutered and available for adoption Had I been nasty she may have refused to deal with me and I would not been able to have taken them out of her facility. This is such a passionate subject I respect opinions and experiences of all that had comments on this site.

  8. jimfoster,dvm says:

    I’ve dedicated 19 years of my veterinary career to bringing change to the kennels in our area. My associate and I go into the kennels and perform dentals, adult checks and puppy checks. They follow a management program that we carefully planned out. In order to break the “puppy mill” image our kennels have gone out and borrowed large sums of money against their farms and homes to build new kennels or to upgrade the ones alread in place. We work closely with our federal,state and AKC inspectors. Yes we do close kennels down. Most of our kennels are family run. Husband,wife and children. For many this is their sole income. Our people love their dogs and do take care of them. Many hire outside people to come in and take care of the kennel. Many hire professional groomers to come in to keep the dogs looking good. If Prop. B passes, my clinic will go under with our kennels. We thought we were working with the USDA who we felt knew what was best for the animals. Prop B contains mandates that will not be the best options for dogs/puppies. What they mandate is malpractice. I’ve called HSUS several times in St. Louis to inquire about their model kennel and to see their data. NO RESPONSE!!!!! Why is HSUS, shelters, rescues, catteries exempt? Veterinarians, feed sales, and agriculture will go down the tube on this. If you think things are high now? Get ready. You will never buy a pup in Mo. again and will have to go out of state. Unlicensed true mills will explode all over this state. Fees paid in by our licensed kennels support the pay of inspectors. That will end. It will also lead to the euthanasia of thousands of dogs.
    I’ve written an article called “Egg Suckin’ Dogs” if you wish to receive it, contact me via email.

    • Candace says:

      Thank you for pointing out yet another reason to vote against this proposition! I wish voters would look at all of the “unintended consequences” that passing this will create.

  9. FreedomFighter says:

    Ann said, “A legitimate breeder does not breed dogs for the money.” – Is this the same Ann from the H$U$?

    You should learn the definition of the term legitimate. If they are legal they are legitimate.

    Who says legitimate breeders should’t earn money from their time, labor, experience, talent, passion, and investment? In no other field is one required to work pro bono publico.

    If they’re gone at a job all day they can’t be home taking care of their dogs. That’s counter productive to what you say you want, better treatment of the dogs. With all the lost sleep from getting up through the night with a litter of new puppies right next to me in my bedroom there are times I wouldn’t be able to function at an outside job.

    I occasionally show dogs, am an animal behaviorist, a former veterinary technician, and have volunteered in animal shelters. I screen potential buyers, raise my puppies in my home, train them, sell on contract giving me repossession rights and bar buyers from ever taking the dog to a shelter or rescue. To date I have never bred a dog that’s ended up in a shelter. I’ve become friends with many of them and we keep in touch with each other. So, I know where the dogs are and how they’re doing.

    My dogs are of high quality, champion bred, healthy, even tempered; and that’s what I breed for. This, combined with the training I provide, ensures the best start in life, and the smoothest transition into their new forever homes. There is a waiting list to get one of the few puppies I breed.

    But you’re darn right I charge for my time and services.

    Price is fair and consistent with the quality and training level involved. It is peanuts next to average income but it’s just enough to cover costs and eek out a frugal meager existence. If I had to live by prop.B rules, rules that would force me to treat my dogs as warehoused goods I wouldn’t be able to go on, which is what you really want.

    I love what I do. The buyers of my cherished puppies love what I do. That’s a good thing.

  10. FreedomFighter says:

    “True breeders who love their breeds as true companion animals are not afraid of this bill because their care is better than the bill’s standard of care.”

    Ann, my home is not substandard to a cage of any size. I do not and will not allow my dogs to come and go in and out of my home as they please.

    The best way to house train a dog is by confining it to a limited area, like a crate. There’s nothing abusive about it. To think otherwise begs the question, did you put your baby/toddler in a crib?

    Further, more and more people are waking up to the fact that vaccinations, poisons, such as Frontline, antibiotics, and the like are harmful thus preferring natural remedies. The mandating of high fee vet visits for unnecessary invasive procedures for any illness or injury is abusive both to the dog and to the breeder.

    Your statement is illogical and solely fabricated to invoke emotionally based support for your own personal views on something you are not an expert on.

  11. […] care and have great pride in the work they do. What’s worse, Prop B isn’t much different from puppy mill laws and policies already in place in MO.  And since those laws weren’t enforced, what makes anyone think the new ones will […]

  12. Jesus would be ashame!! says:

    If a person who is against Prop B is atheis, then I would accept the fact that they are blind, think about themselves above all and does not believe in an after-life judgement. But if a person believe in God and is against Prop B, shame on them to put their interest before a living creature! Did they forget that “all of the earth is of God” (Exodus 19:5). How about that “God opens His hands and satisfy the desire of every living creature” (Psalm 145:16)

    I can go on and on but the fact is that if you don’t have the fruit of the Spirit (compassion) within you, then you are as a tree that does not put forth its fruit in due season. This shall be cut down and cast in the lake of fire…. Does this jog the “faith-Believing” people who are against Prop B?

    God is a God of mercy and if the those who have no compassion can turn away from their wickedness, God is faithful to restore them….

    • Carl Bearden says:

      Wow, talk about taking the Bible out of context! Let me know what church you go to so I can avoid the false teachings taking place there.

      It is true that animal abuse is abhorrent. However, God does not put any animal above those He created in His own likeness.

      Genesis 1:26
      And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

      Genesis 1:28
      And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.