Laws for Paws e-Newsletter
MARCH 2020
MISSOURI LEGISLATIVE SESSION COULD BE SIGNIFICANTLY LIMITED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
In spite of the coronavirus outbreak and many other pressing issues facing our state, the Missouri House of Representatives wasted no time in their attempt to weaken our animal welfare laws. At the urging of puppy mills, agricultural trade groups, and other animal users, our state representatives have been relentless in their attempt to obliterate laws protecting animals.

Most concerning is HB 1752 which would prohibit municipalities and counties from banning cruel animal events and from enforcing local animal protection laws. This legislation recently passed the House of Representatives. HB 1752

Equally disturbing is HB 2111. This legislation would allow abused and neglected animals to remain in the hands of their abusers. This bill was “perfected” and is awaiting a final vote on the floor of the House. HB 2111

It now appears that these bills will not be voted on in the Senate due to
a possibly very shortened legislative session due to concerns about COVID-19.

We will keep you advised if and when your help is needed in contacting your state senators on these harmful pieces of legislation. In the meantime, please take all needed precautions and stay healthy.  
USDA REBUFFS CONGRESS – DRASTICALLY
REDUCES ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS
USDA ANNOUNCED THAT MALNOURISHED DOGS LIVING IN FILTHY CONDITIONS ARE NOW TO BE CONSIDERED “TEACHABLE MOMENTS” AND
NOT AS VIOLATIONS  
Due to extensive lobbying on the part of the Alliance, Congress recently ordered USDA to post on its website all inspection reports of puppy mills. USDA had been refusing to allow the public to view inspection reports of commercial dog breeders for the past three years in an effort to protect the image of the industry.

In response to these instructions by Congress, USDA has now posted all inspection reports on its website.  Find Inspection Reports

USDA had little choice in complying with Congress’s instructions as Congress inserted such orders to post inspection reports into USDA’s budget for 2020.  USDA had to comply or jeopardize its funding for the year. 

Shockingly, USDA is now retaliating against Congress for ordering the Agency to post inspection reports of puppy mills.  With a vengeance, USDA announced this month that it is expanding the definition of “teachable moments.” In the past, only minor items having no adverse effect whatsoever on the animal were to be considered as “teachable moments” and not documented on the inspection report as violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.  

USDA is now redefining “teachable moments” as those violations that are currently “ not causing noticeable pain or distress to an animal. ”  This is a substantial difference. Something could be adversely affecting the health or well-being of the animal yet the animal would not necessarily be in noticeable pain or distress at the time of the inspection but could very well be in pain or distress in the near future. 
USDA's new mantra, "If she is not in noticeable pain - ignore her"
Animals housed in filthy and unsanitary living conditions without adequate veterinary care and lack of shelter and nutritious food are not necessarily in “noticeable pain” or in “noticeable distress.” Such inadequate care, however, will ultimately lead to distress but as long as the animals are not “currently” in pain when the USDA inspector is present, such lack of care is only considered a “teachable moment.” Even when there is a lack of shelter in the middle of winter as long as the animals are not shivering in the cold while the inspector is present, such violation is to be considered a “teachable moment” and not documented on the inspection report - even if the forecast is for bitter freezing temperatures for later that night.

USDA's message to Congress as well as to animal advocates is if you are going to force us to make inspection reports of puppy mills available to the public then we are going to classify violations as "teachable moments" and not document the violations on the inspection reports. USDA is determined to keep the public in the dark about conditions at puppy mills. 

It is for this reason that the Alliance has filed a lawsuit against USDA over the Agency’s illegal adoption of the “teachable moments” rule.  This rule is not only inhumane to the animals but it was adopted and implemented without seeking public comments and without complying with the federal rule-making process. In addition, the Alliance has a federal lobbyist working to educate Congress on USDA’s malfeasance in an effort to persuade Congress to take further action against USDA. 

Just last week the Missouri Department of Agriculture gained settlement judgments towards closing down two inhumane dog breeders – breeders that USDA has given clean inspection reports to for the past three years.

We will keep you advised of the outcome of our lawsuit and our lobbying efforts in D.C. In the meantime, if you wish to vent your frustrations, feel free to call or email Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and let him know that you are vehemently opposed to “teachable moments” and USDA’s lax enforcement efforts. Please take the opportunity to give Secretary Perdue a “teachable moment” about the necessity of enforcing the federal Animal Welfare Act, a law that Congress mandated USDA to enforce.  
Email Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue or call 202-720-3631
BRAVISSIMO!
YOU OPENED YOUR HEART - GRAZIE!
THANK YOU TO OUR PAWSOME SPONSORS:

Carol House Furniture (MATCH SPONSOR)
and
Joe Hanon (Ziern-Hanon Galleries)
 Helix Realty 
 Dale & TJ Lindhorst
Nancy Grove & Joe Tiernan
Scott & Laurie Livingston

Open Your Heart  represents a major source of funding for our legislative work every year. We are so grateful for the generosity of those who attended this fun event - and to those who could not but contributed in other ways either by volunteering, donating auction items and in-kind services, providing much needed sponsorship, or simply by donation-in-lieu-of-ticket-purchase. Your support helps make it possible for the Alliance to continue our vital work with state legislators and public officials on behalf of the animals.

Check out how much fun we had at The Dogfather

APRIL
Humane Day at the Capitol
Tuesday, Apr 21: 10:00am - 2pm / Capitol Building (Jefferson City)
For more info and to register (free): click here
Questions, email:  admin@maal.org

St. Louis Earth Day Festival
Temporarily suspended, but there will be a week of ONLINE Earth Day Festival celebration. We will feature this on our home page as soon as we have more info


MAY
Bark in the Park
Saturday, May 16: 8:00am - 1:00pm / Forest Park (Cricket Field)
For more info click here
Questions, email:  admin@maal.org
Volunteer shifts to be published next e-newsletter!


Visit our website for more events, news, legislation and general info!
HELPING ANIMALS!

If you find yourself in a situation where you question the treatment of an animal, or the conditions, or maybe you're wondering about helping wildlife or assisting in a rescue, or you have witnessed something that needs to be reported - go to our website because chances are you will find a number and/or a link that can help address it.

A Great Way to Support the Alliance
With so many people shopping online these days, you can now support the Alliance each time you make a purchase on Amazon. Click here or on the icon. Once you've identified "Missouri Alliance for Animals" as your charitable organization of choice, a portion of your purchase will be donated by Amazon to the Alliance each time you shop on Amazon! What a great way to contribute!
Schnucks eScrip Card

Another great way to support
the Alliance!
Did you know that every time you shop at Schnucks, they'll donate a percentage of your purchase to the Alliance? It's an awesome way to support the Alliance's mission and it doesn't cost you a thing! We'll even register your eScrip card for you so you don't have to!

Simply email us at admin@maal.org with "Schnucks eScrip" in the Subject line, no message required - and we'll send your registered Schnucks eScrip card to you within 7 days.

Once you receive it, you can start using it (we've already registered it for you!) - put it on your key fob to remind the cashier to scan it at check-out!

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!