"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Proposition B: All Bark or Taking A Bite Out Of Animal Cruelty?

November 1st, 2010 by mopns · No Comments

By Mike Ferguson

It’s one of the most emotional campaigns of the year in Missouri but it’s not about candidates; it’s about “man’s best friend”.

Proposition B would, if approved by voters, add several new regulations on dog breeders and would limit the number of breeding dogs they may have. There’s no limit now but that would change to a cap of 50 with voter approval.

Proposition B is also known as “The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act” and supporters say it’s needed because the state has too many large-scale dog breeders now and too many of those keep the animals in deplorable conditions. Missouri native Bob Barker is best known for hosting television’s “The Price Is Right” and is supporting the effort.

He says Proposition B will protect dogs from breeders who don’t give their animals the basics…

Opponents of the measure generally do not question that illegal “puppy mills” exist in the state but say those are unlicensed now and ignore the current laws. Dr. Alan Wessler is a veterinarian with “Missourians for Animal Care” and argues that passage of Proposition B won’t impact bad breeders but will affect good ones.

That’s an argument Barker rejects.

Animal cruelty and unlicensed animal breeding is already illegal in the state. The Missouri Department of Agriculture’s “Operation Bark Alert” investigates and prosecutes illegal breeders. The program has shut down over 340 illegal dog breeding operations since the beginning of 2009.

US Senator “Kit” Bond also opposes Proposition B. He says the success of “Operation Bark Alert”, despite limited funding, shows that more enforcement is the answer – not more laws.

Bob Barker agrees with the call for more enforcement and says passing Proposition B makes it easier to prosecute illegal breeders.

Still, Proposition B does not provide a mechanism for funding the administration of the new regulations.

In another aspect of the debate, dog breeders are not the only ones fighting the issue. Several agriculture groups are worried that voters could be setting them up for an eventual crackdown on their businesses, including the ones that provide your meals.

Dr. Wessler says the activists behind the measure just want to start with restricting dog ownership.

Missouri voters will decide Proposition B on Tuesday, November 2nd.

Mr. Ferguson is the host of “The Mike Ferguson Show”, which airs weekdays from 4:00 to 6:00pm on KSSZ (“Hot Talk 93.9 The Eagle”) in central Missouri. He also anchors both the morning and afternoon news for KLJC (“Calvary 88.5”) in Kansas City.

In addition to hosting the talk show, Mike anchors the afternoon news on KSSZ and reports for the Zimmer News Network, which includes KWOS is Jefferson City. His media experience also includes television and newspaper journalism.

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