Laws for Paws e-Newsletter
 
April 2018   


   ONE MONTH LEFT TO PROTECT ANIMALS IN JEFFERSON CITY 

Animals Still at Risk in Missouri Legislature

With five weeks left in the Legislative session there are still many bills aimed at weakening our animal welfare laws. Puppy mills, factory farms and the Missouri Cattlemen's Association have been relentless in their attempt to obliterate laws protecting animals.

While we have successfully defeated several of these harmful bills, the animals are still in peril as we enter the last weeks of the session. These are the bills that are of the most concern:

SB 662
Usurps the Rights of Animal Welfare Organizations to Advocate for Animals and to Educate Law Enforcement on Animal Cruelty & Neglect Laws

Among other things, this legislation places the Department of Agriculture in charge of all animal welfare organizations in reference to the training they perform regarding the Animal Care Facilities Act and the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act for law enforcement personnel. In essence, these bills would give the Department of Agriculture absolute and total authority over the training programs conducted by animal welfare organizations on laws protecting animals in puppy mills. This could preclude law enforcement from being properly educated on our laws to protect animals. This is the first step towards placing "government monitors" in classrooms across the state to control how animal welfare groups advocate for animals. This is GOVERNMENT OVERREACH at its worst.

To learn more about this click   SB 662


HB 1945
Allows Abused & Neglected Animals to Remain in the Hands of Their Abusers

This bill would effectively eliminate the disposition process for abused and neglected animals and allow the animals to remain in the hands of their abusers until the conclusion of a criminal trial. It also eliminates the authority of Animal Control Officers from rescuing abused and neglected animals.

To learn more about this click  HB 1945


HB 1907#2
Prohibits Local Laws Banning Cruel Animal Events and Severely Restricts Ordinances Regulating Puppy Mills and Factory Farms

This bill would allow hog-dog contests, horse tripping, bloodless bullfights and other cruel events in your community. The Alliance was able to have the original version of HB 1907 amended so as to preserve the authority of municipalities to prohibit cruel events and allow for local regulations on the care of animals.
The bill sponsor, after agreeing with these amendments, has since changed his mind and is now introducing a SECOND version of the bill - HB 1907#2, which is similar to the original version and once again, limits the authority of municipalities to regulate the care of animals.

To learn more about this click  HB 1907#2


WHAT YOU CAN DO:
  • If you have not contacted your legislator on any of these bills, please do so TODAY      
  • Find out who your state senator is and his/her contact information at My State Senator  
  • You can follow all animal legislation on our Legislation page at our website Legislation
  • Stay tuned:   If it becomes necessary, we will be asking you to contact your state senator once again IF these bills gain momentum in the last weeks of the session
ARE RESCUES FUNDING PUPPY MILLS???

 

The Washington Post  recently published a story alleging that several animal rescues are actually funding puppy mills by paying exorbitant prices for dogs at auctions (see  article). The author is concerned that this practice is encouraging puppy millers to breed more dogs to meet the demands of rescues. 

It should be emphasized as you read the Post article that the vast majority of rescues are performing invaluable work - rescuing dogs from abusive and neglectful situations and giving them a chance for a loving home for the first time in their lives. It is hard work and often without any human rewards. This is what makes it so tragic when we learn about unscrupulous rescues.

Unfortunately, while painting with a broad brush all rescue  organizations, the author defends the actions of the auction operators. In our Fall Newsletter, the Alliance reported on the incessant sale of sick and injured animals at these dog auctions as well as the inhumane practices prevalent at the auctions (see Newsletter).

While there is undoubtedly much truth in the article, the reader should be aware that the intent of the author is to divert attention away from the cruel practices of the commercial dog breeding industry and focus the public's attention on animal rescues. 

It should be further emphasized that the author of The Washington Post article has in the past defended some of the worst breeders in the industry including Ervin Raber (see Raber).

For example, the author failed to point out that Hank Grosenbacher, operator of Heartland Auction in Cabool, MO, has banned several rescues that have reported his facility to the state for abusive practices and the sale of sick animals.

It should also be pointed out that contrary to the article's assertion that rescues are not regulated, many states do regulate rescue organizations including the state of Missouri. The Missouri Department of Agriculture was recently responsible for closing down one of the largest rescues in the country due to improper care of the animals. 

The article does serve a valid purpose, however, by informing the public of the excesses of a few rescue organizations. Especially since these problems have been increasing over the years.

In fact, several rescues are now bypassing the auctions and buying dogs directly from the breeders whom they met while at the auctions. While some are paying minimal prices or just accepting "old breeding stock", a few are paying high prices and purchasing puppies. Rarely do these rescues report the substandard conditions they encounter when purchasing dogs at the breeding facilities.

Most alarming, some rescues are actually breeding puppies. One rescue in Missouri recently closed down when the rescue's veterinarian reported that the rescue was actually breeding and selling the puppies as "rescued puppies from puppy mills."

One concern that was reported on in this article, is the fact that the majority of rescues that purchase dogs at auctions do not inform the adopters that the dogs were purchased at auction but rather, the potential adopter is told that their dog was "rescued" from a puppy mill. The adopter is unaware that while their dog might have escaped the puppy mill system, another dog is being bred to take its place. The number of dogs in the system remains the same . The purchase of the so-called puppy mill rescue dog is just adding more money to the coffers of the puppy millers while not decreasing the number of dogs in puppy mills.

When the terms "rescue" and "purchased from a puppy mill" are synonymous, how are some of these rescues any different from Petland, especially when they both buy dogs from breeders? Can Petland now say that THEY are rescuing dogs when they sell them at their pet stores?

The most disturbing development is the number of puppy mills that are now forming non-profit rescues. The impetus for this is the large number of municipalities, including the state of California, that have banned the sale of dogs in pet stores except  for dogs from shelters and rescues. Many breeders are attempting to circumvent these bans by establishing non-profit rescues and claiming their dogs are "rescues". It is difficult to determine how long this ruse will continue before there is legal action to stop these fraudulent practices. The Alliance has already informed a few municipalities of fake rescues from Missouri that are supplying dogs to pet stores that have bans on commercially bred puppies.


WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Educate yourself about the work of rescues as we need to support our good rescues while we weed out the unprincipled rescues - especially any that are operated by commercial breeders


 


HUMANE DAY AT THE CAPITOL

 

Thank you to everyone who participated in "Humane Day at the Capitol" on Tuesday, April 10th, sponsored by the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislatio n. The Alliance had info packets available for visitors to the Capitol Building, including a list and description of the proposed bills for this year, legislative achievements, challenges, and ways to become involved in animal advocacy. 

Fellow animal welfare groups represented included: Humane Society of Missouri (who sponsored lunch), Animal Protective Association of Missouri (APA), Missouri State Humane Association (MoSHA), Missouri Animal Control Association (MACA), Ferals in Peril, Kansas City Health & Public Safety, Protect Every Pet, and the St. Charles County Pet Adoption Center - to name some.

We'd love to see even more people - including school students - visit the Capitol Building on Humane Day next year !

  
                       
                      

The work is endless - but together, we are making a difference!
UPCOMING EVENTS

 

  St. Louis Earth Day (St. Louis)
Saturday, April 21: 11 am - 5 pm / Forest Park (Muny Fairgrounds)
Sunday, April 22:  11 am - 5 pm / Forest Park (Muny Fairgrounds)
For more info click here 
T o volunteer, email:   admin@maal.org
SHIFTS STILL AVAILABLE BOTH DAYS:
1: 11am - 1pm
2: 1pm - 3pm  
3: 3pm - 5 pm


Bark in the Park (St. Louis)
Saturday, May 19: 9 am - 1 pm / Forest Park (Cricket Field)
For more info click here
To volunteer, email: admin@maal.org
AVAILABLE SHIFTS:
1: 9 - 11am
2: 11 - 1 pm

St. Louis VegFest
Saturday, Aug 4: 11am - 8pm / Forest Park (World's Fair Pavilion)
For more info click here
To volunteer, email: admin@maal.org

Help the Alliance continue to  
fight for the animals. 
Please consider a donation today!      

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