Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Animal Talk Has HIGH Kill Rate in Wentzville, Missouri ......

In case you don't know, in 2013 Animal Talk took in 496 dogs and killed 118 of them, and 514 cats and killed 461 of them. THEY KILLED 90% OF THE CATS BROUGHT IN. So a total of 1010 total animals were brought in there and 579 of them were killed for a total kill rate of 57%. A NUMBER I WOULD NOT BE PROUD OF AS A CITY.

I Don't Run Into Animal Abusers BUT When I Do Its With My Car........





The Best Party Is Rocking On August 24, 2014 .....


Best Friends Speak Out Against Amendment One in Missouri .......

From Best Friends:
Best Friends Animal Society
MO Voters: On August 5, you can help protect dogs in puppy mills
Dear Friends:
On August 5, you will have the opportunity to cast your vote on a very important issue for animals. Constitutional Amendment 1, the misleadingly named “Right to Farm” amendment, is an effort to dismiss the voice of Missouri voters and prevent any state rules to regulate agriculture — including puppy mills.
The “Right to Farm” amendment’s vague language doesn’t tell us who is protected, or from what. By allowing foreign-owned corporations to do anything they want on Missouri land, this amendment allows big agribusiness to write its own rules and ignore the will of the people and their elected representatives.

This is a dangerous and unnecessary effort that has the ability to reverse all of the progress made to protect dogs in Missouri’s puppy mills. It will not protect Missouri’s family farms, but will instead strip Missourians of their rights and weaken existing and future laws to regulate puppy mills.
On August 5, please vote NO on the dangerous and unnecessary “Right to Farm” amendment.
Thank you for speaking up for animals. Together, we can Save Them All.
Warmest regards,
Elizabeth O.
National Manager, puppy mill initiatives
puppymills.bestfriends.org

The Lies A Pet Store Will Tell You ......

So This Is What They Tell You and the reality is this is where the puppies are coming from.......
 You aren't saving the puppies you are just condemning the parent dogs to a life of sheer hell 
 Caged their entire life ...never given a dog toy or any kind of love...hot water at best in so many of these heartless breeding facilities that Missouri and so many states are over run with....
Adopt Don't Shop !!! It gives you such a fabulous feeling too !!! 

This Is Where Puppy Mill Dogs Live....This is The Price The Parent Dogs Pay For That Cute Puppy In The Pet Store !!!

USDA LICENSED PUPPY MILL.......

The heat index will be 109 today in Iowa.... Below is a photo of a USDA licensed puppy mill here in Iowa (photo taken at the end of 2011). How do you think animals survive heat exposure like this? Or the frigid Iowa temperatures? Taken from what we know of most mill dogs, these dogs are more than likely ungroomed and matted... 
Can you imagine, sitting in these rabbit hutches, day in and day out, just waiting to be bred? Hot water to drink, the smell of old feces and urine stinking up your tiny house.... THIS is why we do what we do. This is why we spend so much of our efforts talking about animals that need us-- in hopes that someday they can live in a better world.

______________________________________________
Deloris Spire - USDA license # 42-A-1418
2976 Linwood Avenue Bedford, IA 50833

Recent USDA inspection dog counts:
5/30/13- 66 adults / 9 puppies
3/08/12 - 63 adults / 16 puppies
7/25/11 - 45 adults / 35 puppies

During her last inspection in May of 2013, Spire had 5 violations- two of them being repeat violations. She was using expired medications, filth and clutter in the whelping area, the cages (rabbit hutches) are excessively chewed, scratched and worn down, sharp points of wire were poking into the cages, and at least 6 of the outdoor enclosures had a severe back up of feces and grime on the floors and the walls. 



Spire has had numerous violations (like these and worse) in the past, but has never been held accountable for what she is doing.
______________________________________________

When this photo first hit facebook last year, the Taylor County (Iowa) sheriff's office received hundreds of calls, asking for welfare checks-- yet the conditions never changed.... The USDA has been out there several times and KEEPS writing them up for violations, but they never enforce change or ask the Spire's to downsize. And this breeder is also state licensed with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, but they certainly don't see anything wrong.... With ALL of these entities in place to care about the welfare of these animals, why are they still suffering on days like today?

Please, invite your friends to join us at Bailing Out Benji. Together we can educate the world about places like these and why the USDA needs to step their game up.


http://peopleforanimals2011.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/animal-welfare-act/

Vote No On Amendment One ......



Passing the deceptively named 'right-to-farm' amendment will open the door to those who want to dismantle the animal cruelty laws and dog breeding regulations many of us have worked so diligently for.
Spread the word and learn more at www.hsmo.org/oppose1

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

St. Louis List of Some Wonderful Breed Specific Rescues

St. Louis – Dog Breed Rescue Groups

A

Airedale Terrier Rescue & Adoption
(636) 451-2760
American Bull Mastiff Association Rescue
BullMastiff.us
American Eskimo Rescue of St. Louis
(314) 647-1112 / www.eskierescuestl.org
Chiondi Kennel & Rescue (Australian Cattle Dog Referrals)
CKRescue.net
Australian Shepherd Rescue of St. Louis, Inc
636) 458-7515

B

Basenji Rescue
(314) 469-2052
Bearded Collie Rescue
(636) 240-8604
BRAT Basenji Rescue and Transport
(314) 968-9888 x53
BREW Mid-West
BrewBeagles.org
Heartland Bernese Mountain Dog Club
(913) 385-0400
Greater St. Louis Bichon Frise Rescue
(636) 441-9442
Gunners Run Rescue (Boston Terriers & other breeds)
(618) 980-9459
Missouri Border Collie Rescue
(314) 578-6763
Border Collie Rescue
(314) 842-5942
Midwest Border Collie Rescue
MWBCR.org
St. Louis Boxer Rescue
(314) 558-1767
Brittany Rescue of Missouri
(816) 719-9884
National Brittany Rescue and Adoption
(314) 973-5743

C

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Rescue
(417) 825-8042
Trixies Angels Toy Breed Rescue (Chihuahua)
(314) 809-8971
Chihuahua Rescue USA
ChihuahuaRescueUSA.org
City Chihuahua Rescue
petfinder.com/shelters/rccr.html
We Luv Paws Chinese Shar Pei Rescue
(816) 741-6212
Clumber Spaniel Rescue
(314) 365-1794
Corgi Rescue, Pets’ Second Chance, Inc
(314) 422-2350
Corgi Rescue Faery Tails of St. Louis
(314) 631-2577

D

All American Dachshund Rescue
(931) 446-5533
Dachshund Rescue of North America
DRNA.org
Spotsavers Dalmatian Assistance League
(314) 842-8958
Midwest Doberman Rescue of St. Louis
(636) 947-1304

E–F

Missouri Wire Fox Terrier Rescue
WireFoxRescueMidwest.com

G–I

Serendipity German Shepherd Dog Rescue
SerendipityGSD.org
German Shorthaired Pointer Rescue of Missouri
(417) 439-6117
GRRRR (Golden Recovery – Retrieving Retrievers Rescue)
GoldenRecovery.org
Love A Golden
(314) 963-5232
Dirk’s Fund Golden Retriever Rescue
(314) 966-3326
Gateway – PBR Golden Retriever Rescue
(314) 995-5477
Missouri Valley Gordon Setters
MVGSC.net
Forever Friends Great Dane Rescue
(815) 942-6823
ForeverFriendsGDRI.com
Great Dane Lifeline
GreatDaneLifeLinesStL.org
Greyhound Companions of Missouri
(314) 839-1525
GCMO.org
Rescued Racers (Greyhounds)
(314) 423-4126
REGAP – Retired Greyhounds As Pets
RescuedGreyHounds.com
Italian Greyhound Rescue
ItalianGreyhound.org
Havanese Rescue Inc.
HavaneseRescue.com

J-L

Jack Russell/Parson Russell Terrier Rescue
(314) 963-4715
Keeshond Lovers United
KeeshondLovers.com
Metro East Lab Rescue
(618) 344-4096
American Lhasa Apso Club Rescue IL/MO
(309) 359-8975
Lhasa Apso Rescue
(920) 683-2245
Linksrhein German Shepherd Dog Rescue
(314) 369-9796

M

North Central Maltese Rescue
(262) 633-9371
Mastiff Hope
(816) 352-9384
St. Louis Min Pin Rescue
MinPinRescue.org

N-P

River King Newfoundland Club
Petey@galesburg.net
Papillon Haven Rescue
www.paphaven.org
501-865-4442
Pit Bull Rescue Central
PBRC.net
OnPoint Rescue Pointer Rescue
(314) 830-3867
Heart of America Poodle and Friends K9 Rescue
(636) 366-4417
Perro de Presa Canario, Midwest Presa Rescue
(618) 675-3146
Pug Rescue IL-MO
618-616-4065
PugResq.net
Metro St Louis Pug Rescue
(636) 532-1936
Illinois Birddog Rescue, Inc.
(630) 694-1359
Purebred Dog Rescue of St. Louis
(314) 351-1387

R-S

Illinois Saint Bernard Rescue
SaintRescue.org/Illinois.htm
St. Louis Samoyed Rescue
(314) 867-4755
Schipperke Rescue
(618) 632-1567
St. Louis Schnauzer Rescue
(314) 600-3296
IL Scottish Terrier Rescue
(618) 656-3126
Scottish Terrier Rescue of Missouri
(816) 540-3801
St. Louis Area Scottish Terrier Rescue
(314) 383-5778
Save Our Setters
SaveOurSetters.org
Second Chance Sheltie Rescue of St. Louis
(888) 873-5443
Furever Shih Tzu Rescue
ShihTzuRescue.us
Sighthound Rescue
(314) 644-6536

T

Tsavo Vizsla Rescue
(314) 966-4210

U–Z

St. Louis Weimaraner Club
WeimClubStL.org/rescue.php
Wonder Weims Rescue
(314) 330-8481
Westie Rescue of Missouri, Inc
(217) 202-8414
Echo Dogs White Shepherd Rescue
(630) 842-3718
Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue
YorkieRescue.com

Monday, July 28, 2014

Welfare Swindlers Plus Tax Cheats Plus Consumer Fraud Plus Animal Neglect Equals Puppy Mills ....

Welfare Swindlers + Tax Cheats + Consumer Fraud + Animal Neglect = Puppy Mills 
Reputable dog breeders have, for years, argued that there is little money to be made from breeding dogs and insisted it should only be pursued as a hobby or to improve breed standards.  This, of course, raises the question, “Why are there are so many puppy mills if dog breeding is not a profitable enterprise?”  Having spent the past 33 years investigating commercial dog breeders, I can easily answer that question.  In contrast to responsible breeders, who seldom make a profit, many commercial dog breeders make large sums of money breeding dogs, but do so only by sacrificing the health and welfare of their breeding animals.  My visits to hundreds of puppy mills revealed that the single most distinguishing characteristic of puppy mill operators is their desire to produce puppies at minimal costs and effort regardless of what is best for the animals.  The only apparent concern for the dogs’ welfare is their desire for a high enough survival rate to ensure a profit. The breeding animals are viewed merely as machines for producing puppies. 
Puppy mills, however, do not stop at cheating on the health and welfare of their dogs to gain a quick buck.  They have continually sought out other unethical and sometimes illegal practices to enrich their coffers.            
Exposes over the years by the news media, animal welfare groups, consumer advocates, and state and federal agencies have revealed that many puppy mills have engaged in a host of questionable practices.  Welfare fraud appears to be one way breeders use to scam the system.  Over the years, I have come across numerous puppy mill breeders who, despite being able to care for scores of breeding dogs, are collecting federal disability payments.  Interestingly, I have heard the same comments from veteran USDA inspectors and AKC inspectors.  They have reported that a surprising number of puppy mill operators they come across are collecting disability. This came to mind while attending a recent trial of a dog breeder who, in spite of caring for over 100 breeding dogs and the many puppies associated with so many adult breeding animals, admitted on the stand that she is collecting disability.  

Several state agencies across the country, as well as the IRS, have reported that commercial dog breeders have underreported their income on federal and state tax returns.  Additionally, many were not paying the state sales tax on puppies sold or were vastly underreporting such sales.    Many dog breeders here in Missouri responded in dismay when the Missouri Department of Agriculture started requiring licensees to provide Missouri Tax I. D. numbers and complete a “Tax Compliance Worksheet” when renewing their state commercial breeder’s license.  Interestingly, a comparison of the number of adult breeding dogs listed on federal inspection reports with the number of puppies sold often reveals a sharp contrast.  For example, one breeder with over 100 adult breeding dogs reported to the state sales of less than 100 puppies a year.  When factoring the average litter size and average number of litters per year along with the percentage of female dogs, a breeding facility of this size should be producing at least 500 puppies per year.  Such underreporting of puppy sales can be used to falsify federal and state income tax returns, applications for disability and welfare benefits, payment of state sales tax, and state licensing fees which are based on number of puppies sold.      

In addition to these unethical and illegal practices, there is the massive consumer fraud perpetrated by puppy mills.  This is apparent from the countless complaints from consumers who have purchased sick and genetically defective puppies from pet stores which originated from puppy mills.  Almost monthly there is a news story somewhere in the country about the sale of sick dogs at pet stores.  These complaints are so prevalent that over 20 states have enacted puppy lemon laws to protect consumers.  Some cities, including most recently the City of San Diego, have banned the sale of dogs in pet stores due to the massive number of consumer complaints.  When the city of Los Angles banned the sale of dogs in their pet stores, Missouri was specifically mentioned as the source of over half the sick dogs being sold to LA consumers.  The Better Business Bureaus of Missouri found the commercial dog breeding business to be one of the worst businesses they have encountered.  The BBB reported they have received a “large number of complaints from consumers” due to “ill puppies” and because of “the expenditure of money for veterinarian fees by consumers who unknowingly bought sick puppies.”  The BBB stated “the resolution rate of those complaints is well below the national average for resolving complaints.” 

It recently came to our attention that a breeder here in Missouri was continuing to breed dozens of adult dogs despite the breeder’s own veterinarian refusing to certify the dogs as fit for breeding due to genetic defects.  This will, without a doubt, result in many puppies with painful genetic defects being passed on to unwitting consumers.  Over the years I have questioned many breeders on why they chose to sell wholesale via pet stores rather than directly to the consumer where they can receive 3 to 5 times the amount of money that they receive from the pet stores.  The answer is always the same, “I don’t have to deal with complaints.”  A consumer half way across the country who purchases a sick or crippled dog will have little recourse to the breeder living hundreds of miles away in Missouri.   

It has been a practice for years for some commercial breeders to acquire breed stock by posing as a family promising to give a dog a good home.  In fact, a prominent breeder here in Missouri was recently caught doing so.  Just last month, an industry veterinarian at a meeting of Missouri dog breeders complained about unscrupulous breeders knowingly selling diseased breeding dogs to rescues by certifying them as “healthy” via deceptive means.    

Why do we mention all of the above?  Many legislators have alleged that our efforts have destroyed a valuable industry and are responsible for closing down many family businesses which are vital to the state’s economy.  The fact is this has always been an industry plagued by serious problems and has attracted people looking to make a quick buck regardless of the consequences for the dogs, the consumers, and the public taxpayers.  

This is an industry which has long been in need of reform.  We are thankful our efforts have, no doubt, closed down the worst of the puppy mills in the state.  Thanks to our new puppy mill law and subsequent increased enforcement efforts, it has now become more difficult for breeders to make a quick buck off their dogs.  We are hoping the Legislature, as well as the remaining dog breeders in the state, will welcome the transformation of the industry.  This will unquestionably benefit everyone and, most especially, the dogs who are so deserving of humane care and treatment.   


Right To Harm Not Farm ......


Corporate Ag Bankrolling Missouri's Amendment 1 ......

Show Me the Money: Corporate Ag Bankrolling Missouri’s Amendment 1

The people who tried a full-on repeal of Prop B – the 2010 voter-approved ballot measure to crack down on cruelty to dogs in a state that had become notoriously known as the puppy mill capital of the United States– are now trying to pull a fast one on Missouri voters in a statewide vote next Tuesday, August 5th. The state has long had a statutory “right to farm” provision. Now, through Amendment 1, they want a “right to farm” provision in the state constitution, far more sweeping in effect, that reads in part that “farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in the state.” 
What would Amendment 1 mean in practical terms? Assuming the worst-case scenario:
  • The state could not restrict foreign ownership of factory farms, or impose standards for animal care on these megafactories. That should concern every family farmer.
  • The state could not restrict captive shooting of deer on hundreds of cervid ranches in the state. That should concern every sportsman, since deer farming ranches are at odds with the North American Wildlife Management Model and it is documented that these deer farms have been major incubators for Chronic Wasting Disease, a progressive, fatal disease that threatens wild deer populations.
  • Missouri's standards for the care of dogs in large-scale commercial dog breeding operations might be fully repealed, creating a free-for-all for puppy mills in the state.
Puppy mill dog
If Amendment 1 passes, standards for the care of dogs in Missouri puppy mills might be fully repealed. Photo: Shannon Johnstone
Amendment 1 is a radical, overreaching, dangerous ballot measure brought forward by organizations, led by the Missouri Farm Bureau, that opposed voter-approved ballot measures to outlaw cockfighting and to crack down on puppy mills.
Just about every major paper in the state has urged voters to oppose Amendment 1.  Here’s what they have to say:
“….[c]reating a constitutional protection for all agricultural enterprises could create a haven for corporate farms that pollute our environment and put undue pressure on family farms.” Springfield News Leader: July 26, 2014.
Amendment I is “a measure designed to protect corporate agriculture rather than the traditional family farm.” Joplin Globe: July 13, 2014.  
“Changing the state constitution to give extra protection to an industry that has had its way in Missouri since the founding of the state shuts consumers out completely.” St Louis Post-Dispatch: June 16, 2014.
“Amendment 1 is a concerted effort to shield factory farms and concentrated agricultural feeding operations from regulations to protect livestock, consumers and the environment.” Kansas City Star: June 23, 2014.
“The amendment is likely to create some new litigation without good purpose….Amendment 1 is clutter. Vote ‘no.’” Columbia Daily Tribune: July 15, 2014. 
“Amendment 1 protects the farming practices of corporate farmers absolutely…..The right to build factory farms--including those with thousands of hogs confined next to family farms? Spraying poison over our homes and farms that can also drift over towns?” West Plains Daily Quill: July 22, 2014.
“This bill is NOT good for farmers. It will greatly increase further consolidation of agriculture, increase proliferation of genetically modified patented life forms, and destroy local control of the spread of the consolidating (ie. Family Farm Destroying) CAFO’s.” Ozarks Sentinel.
Amendment 1 could “give big corporate agriculture an even bigger advantage over family farms.” Christian County Headliner News:July 22, 2014.
“If you see the ghost of Proposition B in [Amendment 1], your eyesight is excellent. Proposition B, our readers will recall, is the animal welfare law approved by voters in 2010 but then changed dramatically by lawmakers.” Jefferson City News Tribune: June 8, 2014.
The measure has been funded almost exclusively by corporate and commodity agriculture groups who want no standards in agriculture, including on puppy mills. It’s so overreaching that a remarkable array of groups are opposed to it – including family farming groups such as the Missouri Farmers Union and the Missouri Rural Crisis Center; humane organizations such as the Humane Society of Missouri, Great Plains SPCA, and the ASPCA; conservative organizations such as the Missouri Libertarian Party and the Locke and Smith Foundation; good government and religious groups such as the League of Women Voters of Missouri and Missouri Faith Voices; and environmental groups such as the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club.
Missouri voters should cast their ballot against Amendment 1 on August 5th. And please spread the word to Missourians you know.
Paid for by The Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, CEO, 2100 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037. 

Something Puppy Millers Don't Have Is Compassion .....


This Is Why People Open Their Hearts & Homes To Rescue Work .....


Great Job In Animal Welfare .....

Love animals? Always wish you had a career in animal welfare? Or are you ready for a career change? Then a job with PAWS Chicago might be for you!
We are a growing organization with a variety of positions available, from animal care to administrative roles, so there’s something for everyone. This is an incredible opportunity to save lives and help end the overpopulation of homeless animals.
Apply for one of our open positions at http://bit.ly/1qaGDj3 and join our team of dedicated animal welfare professionals today!

Vote No On Amendment One on August 5 For The Sake Of Puppy Mills In Missouri


Pit Bull Was Found Carrying Her Buddy A Chihuahua Who Was Injured .......

Posted: Jul 25, 2014 7:07 PM CDTUpdated: Jul 25, 2014 7:36 PM CDT
You may have seen this story all over the internet this past week.
Joanie, a pit bull, was found wandering around a neighborhood in Savannah, Georgia.

But, Joanie was not alone.
She had been carrying her friend Chachi, a Chihuahua around inside of her mouth.
Transportation wasn't the only service Joanie provided to her little buddy, as she also put him down from time to time to lick and clean his badly infected eye.
When the dogs were eventually picked up by animal control officers, Chachi had the bad eye removed, and the two were separated while he recovered.
As it turns out, that would be the last time the two would be apart.
Once the two were up for adoption, they were lucky enough to be adopted by the same owner, and will be able to remain together under one roof.
The two will be taking their adorable friendship to Florida, and this time Joanie won't have to carry Chachi there on her own!

BBB Report on The Puppy Industry In Missouri ....

The Puppy Industry in Missouri
A Study of the Buyers, Sellers, Breeders and Enforcement of the Laws
Executive Summary
Sponsored by
BBB Serving Eastern Missouri & Southern Illinois 15 Sunnen Drive Suite 107St. Louis, MO 63143 Phone: (314) 645-3300 www.stlouis.bbb.org
BBB of Greater Kansas City 8080 Ward Parkway Suite 401Kansas City, MO 64114 Phone: (816) 421-7800 www.kansascity.bbb.org
BBB of Southwest Missouri 430 South Glenstone AvenueSpringfield, MO 65802 Phone: (417) 862-4222 www.southwestmissouri.bbb.org

The Puppy Industry in Missouri
Introduction
One of the responsibilities of the BBB is to monitor the marketplace, rooting out questionable activities affecting consumers. The four-fold reasons for this study are 1) The large number of complaints filed with the three BBBs in Missouri alleging improper conduct in the puppy marketing industry; 2) The resolution rate of those complaints which is well below the national average for resolving complaints; 3) The purchase online or in pet stores of ill puppies; and 4) The expenditure of money for veterinarian fees by consumers who unknowingly bought sick puppies.
The puppy industry sprouted in the post-World War II era when farmers were seeking alternative cash crops, according to some Web sites. “Through indifference or ignorance many puppies were left unsocialized or exposed in existing chicken coops or rabbit hutches,” the Web site Wikipedia notes.
Missouri is often referred to as the “puppy mill” capital of the country. The term “puppy mill” is not a legal one and consequently lacks a common definition. For some it may be any place where puppies are raised for profit. For others, it may be a kennel where the emphasis is on profit rather than the welfare of the dogs. Because the interpretation of “puppy mill” lies with the individual, this study will refrain from using the term, allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusions from the facts.
Sources
Sources used in this study include: BBB databases including complaints; responses to surveys sent to authorities in 50 states; the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA); inspection reports of federally licensed breeders, wholesalers, and intermediate handlers located in Missouri; the Internet sites of Missouri dog breeders; state and federal audits of animal care agencies; classified ads; court suits involving retailers and suppliers of puppies; U.S. Department of Transportation records; news reports; and shoppings by BBB personnel. The data in this study is accurate as of the date of the study’s publication.
The BBB was hindered in its investigation by failure of Missouri and federal authorities to make timely responses to requests for information. For example, a questionnaire with 15 questions was sent to the Missouri Department of Agriculture on Sept. 13, 2009. The BBB did not receive answers to the 15 questions until two-and-a-half months later, several weeks after other states had responded to the survey. A request for additional information was made Dec. 7, 2009. The BBB has yet to receive the information. At the federal level, the BBB requested information from the USDA on Sept. 16 and was referred to the office that responds to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The BBB was told by the FOIA office that it does not respond to questions, only to requests for records. The FOIA office referred the BBB back to the initial contact person to respond to the questions and four months after the original request, he has yet to respond.
MissouriThe National Hot Spot of the Puppy Industry
Under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the USDA licenses and inspects dog breeding facilities. There are about 4,000 breeders licensed by the USDA nationally. About 30% of these (1,200) are in Missouri, and more than two- thirds are in five contiguous states including Missouri. Surveys were sent to 50 states regarding dog breeders and 40% responded. Six of the states responding to a question reported one kennel per 100,000 residents, while Missouri has about one per 3,000 residents. Missouri has four times as many USDA-licensed breeders as Nebraska, the next highest. And within Missouri, the southwest corner of the state is the hub of the puppy industry. The largest wholesaler of puppies is located in Goodman, a small town in Southwest Missouri. Goodman is near the Oklahoma and Arkansas borders, two states which, with Missouri, are among the top five in terms of breeders licensed by the USDA.
Complaints
A total of 352 complaints and reports against dog breeders and sellers have been filed with the three Missouri BBBs in
-1-
the past three years. While more than three-fourths of all complaints filed with BBBs nationally are resolved, more than half of the complaints filed against Missouri dog breeders and sellers were unresolved. Of those who complained after they had bought a puppy, more than a third said their puppies were ill when they purchased them or became ill soon thereafter, and that several of them had died. Many of the buyers spent thousands of dollars on veterinarian fees that weren’t reimbursed by the seller. The lack of registration papers that were promised when they purchased the puppies was cited by 37 of the complainants.
The Breeders and Inspectors
The federal AWA and the Missouri’s Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA) govern dog breeding and the marketing of puppies. The laws and regulations of both require breeders who have more than three female dogs capable of breeding to be licensed, although federal laws do not require pet stores or a breeder who engages solely in retail sales to be licensed. Licensees are subject to annual inspections by both federal and state authorities. Inspection records raise the question whether these inspections by themselves are effective in policing the marketplace.
A prominent example is the case of Tim King Jr., who operated Doo Little Kennel near Rolla, Mo. On July 24, 2007, federal inspectors found 13 violations including excessive excreta and feces, weeds and trash, unclean facilities, and no shade for some dogs. A month later inspectors found eight violations, including six repeated ones. In the meantime, King continued in business, for example, once sending 32 dogs to an auction at which 23 were sold. Inspections continued, and repeated violations were found. On Sept. 15, 2009, officials raided his kennel and confiscated about 100 dogs and puppies, many sick and malnourished, according to news reports. In all, King had amassed 103 violations in seven inspections spanning less than two years. King is still licensed as a breeder according to the USDA’s Web site, but reportedly never held a state license. On Oct. 5, 2009, King was cited the second time for animal abuse or neglect with the maximum penalty now a $1,000 fine and a year in jail. That case is pending. The question arises why King was allowed to operate for nearly two years without strict enforcement action by federal and state authorities, even though they knew of his dismal track record.
But the King case is not alone in raising the question of whether inspections, by themselves, are effective. For example, the USDA made 130 inspections of 20 breeders in Missouri in the past three years. During those inspections 987 violations were cited, an average of 7.6 per inspection. The license of one of the breeders was cancelled and reinstated three times before being cancelled a fourth time. Another breeder was cancelled two months ago after racking up 138 violations during 13 inspections in less than three years. Twelve of the 20 breeders are still licensed, although three of them had their licenses cancelled at one time or other.
In 2004, State Auditor Claire McCaskill reported that not only were state authorities not inspecting breeders annually as required by law, but that they were not citing violations when they were observed. She pointed out that the problems that existed in her 2001 audit still existed in 2004. The same situation continued in 2008, according to a report by State Auditor Susan Montee.
While inspections, limited as they are, may find and correct some violations, the use of enforcement tools appears to be lacking. A 2005 audit of the federal program noted: “. . . inspectors believe the lack of enforcement action undermines their credibility and authority to enforce the AWA.” Similarly, McCaskill noted in 2004, “Although the division has taken actions to penalize licensed facilities, some facilities with chronic poor performance may never be penalized.”
The Marketplaces
Consumers wanting to buy a puppy have several marketplaces to choose from—a kennel, classified ads, the Internet, and auctions, although auctions are geared more toward breeders seeking additional stock to breed or sell. Consumers also may “adopt” a pet from an animal shelter, although these dogs may be older than the consumer is seeking. Most shelters charge fees for “adopted” animals to cover medical expenses.
Buying a puppy from a breeder who advertises on the Internet is perhaps the most risky choice, with contracts weighted heavily in favor of the breeder. Said one Missouri breeder on its Web site: “We have considered a contract to cover all of the above, but have yet to read one that is not 90% in favor of the breeder/seller. Actually not worth the paper they are written on.”
-2-
Ten contracts of Missouri breeders selling on the Internet were examined.
  • Eight of the contracts offered to replace a sick or dead puppy, but noted that the customer would have to pay the shipping costs, both for sending the ill puppy back to the breeder and for obtaining a replacement.
  • Three breeders reserved the right to determine whether the puppy were ill when shipped.
  • Nine of the 10 contracts said that the breeder would not pay for any veterinarian costs, even if the customer
    bought an ill puppy. Six contracts prohibit a refund of a deposit under any conditions.
  • If a buyer wanted to sue the breeder for providing an ill puppy, four contracts specified that the suit would have to be filed in the county in which the breeder is located, even though the customer may be located thousands of miles away.
    Buying a puppy through a classified ad in the newspaper also poses problems unless the prospective buyer is able to view the kennel and see the condition of the facilities, along with the parents of the puppy. A breeder may ask that the prospective buyer meet him or her on a parking lot to see the dog rather than at the kennel. The BBB shopped 22 classified ads in the newspaper by telephone. A few were reluctant to furnish the addresses of their kennels, although most did. BBB shoppers made appointments to meet with the breeders at locations other than the kennels on three occasions. Once, the breeder failed to show. Another invited the shopper to visit her kennel. But the third shopper seeking a dachshund puppy for her daughter met a breeder on a parking lot in St. Charles. Two dachshund puppies that were shown to the shopper appeared to be underweight, inactive and with very thin coats. When the shopper told the breeder that she wanted to check with other sources, the breeder angrily told her she had wasted his time, slammed the door of his station wagon and drove away.
    Pet stores are another marketplace for consumers seeking a puppy. However, there are numerous reports of puppies being purchased that were ill or became sick shortly thereafter. Animal welfare activists have waged a national campaign against Petland, an international chain doing business in 26 states and six countries. A class action suit has been filed against Petland and The Hunte Corporation (see below) claiming the stores sold ill puppies. BBBs received 657 complaints nationally against Petland stores in the past three years.
    The Middle Men
    One of the largest sales outlets for breeders in Missouri and other states is The Hunte Corporation, located in Goodman, Mo. According to news reports, Hunte buys and sells 90,000 puppies a year, transporting them by 18- wheeler to pet stores across the country. Hunte’s 25 trucks logged 2 million miles in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Hunte refused to verify the sales figures. In glowing terms on its Web site, the company describes how well it takes care of the puppies once they are in its possession. However, many sources disagree with the words of self-adulation.
    For example, the Web site notes: All Hunte puppies come from USDA licensed and AKC inspected professional breeders and hobby breeders.But in January 2008, an administrative law judge in Washington, D.C. found that a division of Hunte had paid $3,036 for 19 puppies to a Missouri dealer between March and October 2003, although the dealer had not had a required USDA license since September 2002. The dealer is now selling puppies on the Internet.
    (Two other Missouri dealersMid-America Pet Broker of Neosho and Hidden Valley Farms of Greencastle—also ran afoul of federal inspectors when they purchased puppies without obtaining certification that the breeders did not require a license.)
    The Hunte Web site also states: “They (the puppies) receive the best food and veterinary care and constant attention from a highly-trained support staff focused solely on the puppy's wellbeing.” This is disputed by several sources. Hunte is a principal supplier of puppies to Petland, the national chain pet store. The former owners of three Petland stores in Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio, in separate suits, charged that they received sick puppies from Hunte. One franchisee said that prior to his grand opening on Aug. 5, 2006, he received 60 to 65 puppies from Hunte, more than half of them sick when they arrived. Another said three puppies in the initial shipment for his opening on March 31, 2007, died within weeks and others were sick. The third franchisee said in a class action suit that he had to spend about $40,000 in veterinarian bills because puppies from Hunte were sick. The three suits are pending.
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In a class action suit filed in September 2009 in Arizona against Petland and Hunte, 31 consumers alleged that they had purchased sick puppies from Petland, four of them traced back to Hunte. In its denial of the accusations, Hunte noted: “It is clear that HSUS (Humane Society of the U.S.) desires a public forum in which it can advocate its position that pet stores should not sell puppies. Trying to squeeze their allegations into an actionable claim appears to have been simply an afterthought.” The suit is pending.
Breeders also market directly to pet stores, relying on other companies to transport the puppies to the stores. These “intermediate handlers” are licensed by the USDA. Eighteen individuals or companies in Missouri hold such licenses, and are subject to inspection by authorities. One of these is Puppy Ship LLC of Monett, Mo. On July 8, 2009, a driver for Puppy Ship, was arrested in Massachusetts for cruelty to animals. Authorities confiscated 27 puppies that were on their way to pet stores. Seven of the puppies needed veterinary care, three for dehydration or infections, and have incurred $14,000 in vet bills, according to news reports. The driver’s attorney told a judge that his client delivers puppies to Massachusetts once a week.
Missouri Compared With Other States
Surveys were sent by the BBB to the Departments of Agriculture in all of the states regarding their programs for licensing dog breeders and sellers. Forty percent of the states responded. The surveys showed that while Missouri’s inspectors have more work than their counterparts in other states, they are paid better. Missouri inspectors are paid between $30,000 and $36,600 while those in other states responding to the question are paid an average of $22,700 to $31,000. But Missouri employees must inspect well over twice as many kennels per inspector as inspectors in other states. Inspectors usually have duties in addition to inspecting licensed kennels.
Four of 13 states responding to a question said there were no efforts made to identify non-licensed breeders, while eight said there were some efforts. Missouri, apparently echoing its Operation Bark Alert program through which it seeks help from the public in identifying non-licensed breeders, responded “many.” Of those states responding to the question whether they regularly inspected breeders’ kennels, eight, including Missouri, said yes and eight said no. The frequency of inspections varied from only at the time of initial licensing to annually and in response to a complaint.
The number of enforcement actions taken against pet stores in the past three years averaged 23 in states responding to the question while Missouri reported only three. Enforcement actions against kennels as a percentage of licensed kennels averaged 15.7% for the states responding to the question, while Missouri averaged 8.3%.
Financing
Missouri’s program of regulating dog breeders is financed in part by the Animal Welfare Fund into which fees paid by breeders and others in the industry are deposited. The money is to be used only for enforcement of the ACFA. The state spends about $785,000 annually on inspections. Nine respondents to a survey, including Missouri, said that lack of funding hinders efforts to properly regulate and inspect kennels. The annual fees for licensing in 24 states range from $48 to $179. Missouri’s fees range from $100 to $500 depending on the breeder’s report on the number of dogs sold the past year. In 2004, McCaskill criticized the method of verifying the per capita fee in which the Department multiplied the number of females by eight puppies sold (two litters of four each). If the number reported by the kennel was close to this estimate, it was accepted. McCaskill recommended a more exact procedure to ensure breeders were paying the proper amount. A 2008 audit of the Department of Agriculture by Montee noted that fees had not been adjusted since the beginning of the program in 1993 and recommended that the Department consider increasing them through regulation or legislation.
Legislation
In the past, a few Missouri legislators have tried unsuccessfully to put more restrictions on the puppy industry. A current bill in the Senate would increase regulations governing the purchase of puppies. Identical bills failed in the 2008 and 2009 sessions of the Legislature. A bill with increased restrictions on breeders is pending in the current session of the House of Representatives. A few other states have recently passed more stringent regulations of dog breeders. A new tact has been taken by a coalition of animal welfare activists, backed by a $450,000 contribution by the Humane Society of the United States, which is seeking 100,000 signatures to put a measure with major changes
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in kennel requirements on the Missouri ballot this year. The measure would limit the number of breeding females a breeder may have to 50, require solid flooring for cages instead of the common wire mesh, prohibit stacking of cages, require constant access to outdoor exercise areas, increase the minimum amount of space for animals, require daily cleaning of cages, require annual veterinarian visits, and limit the breeding cycle for females to two litters every eighteen months. These provisions of the proposed law would apply only to breeders with more than 10 females capable of reproducing and would not apply to animal shelters, pet shops, transporters or hobby breeders. However, a counter measure in the form of a proposed constitutional amendment has been passed by the House and if approved by the Senate, will be on the ballot in November. A key sentence in the proposed amendment would prohibit any law regulating domesticated animals unless it is based on scientific principles and enacted by the Legislature. The proposed amendment also gives citizens the right to raise domesticated animals without the state imposing “an undue economic burden on animal owners.”
Conclusions
Because the largest wholesaler of puppies is located in Southwest Missouri, dog breeders proliferate in Missouri and other states in the area. The bottom line for the puppy industry in Missouri is that the state’s job of policing the industry properly is overwhelmed by the lack of available resources. Rightly or wrongly, the policing of dog breeders and sellers seems to be a lower priority in Missouri and elsewhere. Missouri, along with nine other states responding to a survey question, said that lack of funding hinders efforts to properly regulate and inspect kennels. While the efforts of the Missouri Department of Agriculture to identify unlicensed dog breeders through Operation Bark Alert and its follow-up, Prosecution Bark Alert, are commendable, the program siphons resources from the legal mandate of inspecting all licensees annually, including breeders, pet sitters, intermediate handlers, dealers, pet stores, and animal shelters. And in effect, state officials are caught in a Catch-22 dilemma—to commit more resources to identifying unlicensed breeders on the one hand, or to commit more resources to regulating licensed breeders and others more rigorously.
The lack of more vigorous enforcement of the laws and regulations has allowed many breeders to continue operating substandard kennels as the case of Tim King Jr. amply illustrates. The lack of aggressiveness in penalizing breeders for violations of the law would seem to contribute to a laissez-faire attitude toward regulations on the part of breeders.
At least in the past there appears to have been a dichotomy in the philosophies of state officials and auditors— basically a carrot and stick conundrum. While auditors were critical of the lack of stricter enforcement of the laws and regulations, the Department of Agriculture responded that bringing wayward licensees into compliance through persuasion was a more meritorious approach. McCaskill’s 2001 audit noted that several inspectors “stated that it is their duty, or ‘it is best’ to get breeders into compliance rather than to fine them.” But as a federal auditor noted, “As a result, violators consider the (reduced fines for federal violations) as a normal cost of conducting business rather than a deterrent for violating the law.” Meanwhile, breeders and others in Missouri, with seeming impunity, will continue to send sick puppies to be purchased by unwary consumers.
Recommendations
  • That the Missouri and U.S. Departments of Agriculture pursue penalties against repeat offenders more aggressively.
  • That, if necessary, legislation be sought to streamline the process for penalizing repeat offenders, while still allowing for due process.
  • That the Missouri Department of Agriculture and General Assembly consider an auditor’s recommendation to increase the annual license fees and more accurately assess them thereby providing more resources for the inspection and regulation program.
That consumers consider “adopting” a spayed pet from a shelter.