Governor Greitens Has Proposed Full Funding for the Enforcement of Missouri Puppy Mill Laws
Contrary to what has been erroneously reported in an Op-Ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Governor Greitens' proposed budget for 2018 has always included full funding for the enforcement of the Animal Care Facilities Act and the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act.
What apparently led to the confusion was the withholding of surplus funds in the budget for the Animal Care Facility Program in the Department of Agriculture. Even after this withholding, there is sufficient funding in the 2017 budget for current enforcement efforts and Governor Greitens has proposed full funding for enforcement in the 2018 budget which takes effect on July 01, 2017.
It is critical that there are a sufficient number of inspectors to adequately enforce our animal welfare laws. These laws have been very successful in helping to eliminate cruel puppy mills and ensure the welfare of dogs living in breeding establishments in Missouri. Due to the lobbying efforts of the Alliance, not only was the budget secured for enforcement efforts, but the Department of Agriculture agreed to hire two new investigators in January to investigate substandard facilities and serve as quality control inspectors to ensure inspectors are adequately enforcing our animal welfare laws. The Department is also in the process of hiring another veterinarian inspector.
We know from experience that without adequate oversight and a sufficient number of inspectors, dog breeders cut corners and dogs end up suffering. We have had 3 state audits to attest to the need for adequate enforcement and the USDA's Office of Inspector General documented the widespread suffering of dogs at Missouri breeding facilities prior to the passage of the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act and its subsequent increase in enforcement efforts.
We still have much work to do to ensure the humane treatment of dogs in Missouri and we will continue our efforts to ensure adequate enforcement of all of our laws protecting animals in the state. Our first priority will be to lobby for the approval of Governor Greitens' proposed 2018 budget which still needs to be approved by the Legislature.