Friday, May 27, 2011


I wanted to let everyone know that I started a Yahoo Group the other day called
chances4animals~I'm always looking for more ways to help and thought maybe this
group might just do that~Rescues can post their adoptables, adoption events,
fundraisers, foster needs, any needs they might have~this group is also open to
Shelters, Shelter Staff, Volunteers, Transporters, etc. Maybe a Rescue in WI
for example has an approved adopter looking for a certain sweetie that a Rescue
in MI has available for adoption, or one rescue has excess food, another may
have extra crates, etc...
I know that you already receive tons of e-mail and probably don't want or
need more and I know that there are many groups out there already, not to
mention FaceBook & Twitter~I'm hoping that this group will be a place where all
can work together, learn & teach, share some laughs, share successes, and
continue to make a difference!
All are welcome~if you would like to join, please click on the link below or you
can search Yahoo Groups~chances4animals...

Here's the link:
Thank you for your time and as always Thank you so much for all you do!!!
Carroll County Animal Control Volunteer Rescue Coordinator

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Puppy Mill Nightmare

by Craig Cheatham
Posted on May 20, 201 1

It's hard to believe, but a Missouri dog breeder described as "one of the worst puppy mills in the country" by the United States Humane Society, could make thousands of dollars selling its dogs, even though it has reached an agreement with the Missouri Attorney General that forces the breeder to go out of business by the end of the month.

More on that, later.

In a series of scathing inspection reports filed during the last 3 years, inspectors with the United States Department of Agriculture found repeated examples of sick and neglected dogs kept in terrible conditions at S & S Family Puppies. State inspectors also found many violations in recent inspections. According to the consent agreement, the owners are Charles and Diana Stephenson of Milan, Missouri, but USDA records also identify Brandi Cheney, the Stephenson's daughter, as one of the principals in the operation, although the Stephensons insist Cheney owned her own kennel and was simply listed as a co-owner of S & S on the USDA reports.

How bad was S & S Family Puppies?

During a routine inspection on April 13, USDA inspectors found a thin three week old puppy laying on its side shivering. They found an "abnormal soft spot" on the puppy's head that was 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide. The owner told them that its head was too big for its soft top. QA veterinarian had not seen the puppy, instead the Stephensons were "letting it run its course."

During another USDA inspection 6 weeks earlier, inspectors found 8 dogs needing immediate veterinarian care. Many of them were thin, looked sick and had prominant bones that looked like they were sticking out. Several sdogs had exposed skin that had turned red.

I could continue, but the issues with many other inspections also reflect the poor care and filth found by the USDA this year.

I talked with S & S owner Charles Stephenson this afternoon. He told me "48 or 49" dogs will be auctioned off on Saturday, and that he will be able to keep some of the profit from the sale, though it's not clear how much. Mr. Stephenson claimed the USDA was "picky on little things," and that "we didn't feel like we neglected the dogs." He told me the violations looked worse on paper than the dogs did in person.

Mr. Stephenson said he and his wife had owned the kennel for 28 years. Under the consent agreement they will be forced out by the end of the month. He emphasized that they were "voluntarily getting out," but he later admitted that they felt like the state was going to force them out anyway. So, why not agree to it, then pocket some of the profit from the sale?

The Stephensons will be able to collect profit from the sale, but the consent agreement prohibits them from running a commercial kennel for at least 8 years. That means they will not be buying back any of their dogs. The same rules didn't apply to notorious dog breeder Jewell Bond in 2007. After she "surrendered" her dogs, the state agreement allowed her to pocket more than $28,361 from the sale. She spent $3,442 buying back some of the same dogs she had just surrendered to the state. Two years later, there was a raid on Bond's property, and investigators seized more dogs. She was not allowed to buy any of them back. Here's a link to the story we did on Bond 2 years ago.

When we broke the story about Jewell Bond's auction buyback, the new Agriculture Commissioner, Jon Hagler, called it "unacceptable." He told me nothing like that would happen on his watch. It's clear after reading the consent agreement that if the Stephensons can't run a commercial breeding operation, it won't benefit them to buy any of the dogs up for auction. However, their daughter Brandi, who runs her own kennel, has the right to buy her parents' dogs.

Charles Stephenson insists he wasn't treated fairly by inspectors, but it looks like S & S Family Puppies had more than a few opportunities to clean up their act and provide better care for their dogs. They failed repeatedly. Now, the dogs will get another chance at life, though it may very well be in a different puppy mill.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Updated Missouri Legislative Information

“Right to Raise Livestock” Passes in Omnibus Agriculture Bill

SB356, a bill containing Rep. Loehner’s “right to raise livestock” language and setting up the

Puppy Protection Trust Fund (a $1 tax refund check-off to be distributed to the Missouri

Department of Agriculture for enforcement), was passed by the House with a vote of 108-38.

SB356 went to conference and it will be presented to the Governor.

Prop B Used as Punching Bag during Debate, Initiative Changes Blocked
Proposition B was repeatedly targeted during debate on HJR16, a bill that would have required
signatures to be collected in every congressional district in the state instead of in only 2/3 of the districts and changed the percentage required in each district. Proponents of the bill argued that it is far too easy to pass initiatives now, saying that out-of-state interests who have enough money can effectively buy a constitutional amendment. Senators Nieves and Engler pointed to Proposition B as an example of how the current system can be used to pass an initiative with limited geographic support and said that requiring petitions to be distributed in every district would assure
legislation would be more representative of the state as a whole. The bill is effectively dead, as
an amendment by Senator Jolie Justus and the ensuing filibuster prompted Senate leadership to move on. [Engler is the senator who told a reporter that voters didn’t know what they were voting on when passing Prop B.] I can assure you Senator that we will know what we are voting on next election as well. Hope you can sleep at night knowing that thousands upon thousands of PUPPY MILL DOGS will continue to suffer thanks to you and your gang of backwoods, hillbilly, stuck in the cave man mood.

HJR3 is Dead

HJR3 was unable to pass during the last week of session as legislators scrambled to pass many
pieces of high-priority legislation at the last minute. It was put on the informal calendar in the Senate and not brought up for debate.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tips To Avoid Inadvertently Doing Business With Puppy MIlls

Good breeders have nothing to hide. Don’t let one talk you into meeting at some halfway point to sell you a puppy. Breeders should be happy to show you their kennel, where both the adults and the puppies are kept. Ask to stand in the doorway if the kennel operator doesn’t want you inside the building. All of the dogs should be clean and healthy looking and protected from the elements.

Good breeders will test the parent dogs for hereditary diseases before breeding them. They will advise you on the health issues particular to the breed.
Good breeders will have a dog’s registration papers ready when you pick up the dog. Their records will be complete and well organized.

Good breeders will provide documents outlining the vaccinations and any deworming the puppy has been given and what further shots or medicine the puppy needs.

Make sure you understand the health guarantee and return policy. Breeders should offer a two or three week guarantee on contagious diseases, longer for congenital or other defects. Breeders whose guarantees expire after a few days are bad news. Be sure to have your puppy checked out by a veterinarian within forty-eight hours after you take the dog home.

Good breeders know a great deal about the breed, are willing to share that information, and encourage you to ask questions.

Good breeders will want to check you out before selling you a puppy. They will ask how long you’re home during the day, whether you have a fenced-in yard for the puppy to play in, and what if any experience you’ve had with dogs. They’ll insist that if for any reason you have to give up the dog, you’ll bring it back to them.

Good breeders don’t work with a multitude of different breeds, nor do they advertise puppies for Christmas or other holidays.

If you buy a puppy, charge the purchase to a credit card. If problems surface later, you can ask your credit card company to withhold payment.

Avoid buying dogs at pet stores! Rest assured that all puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills, regardless of what the pet store employees tell you. The parent dogs of pet store puppies are kept in crates with only one purpose and that is to breed. They are given almost no socialization and sometimes very little veterinary care, exercise, decent food and clean water.

Beware of wonderful-looking websites filled with photos of adorable puppies. Some of the worst puppy mills have professional-looking sites full of false reassurances about their dogs. Breeders who sell animals on the Internet do not have to comply with the federal Animal Welfare Act and don’t have to be inspected by the U.S. Department f Agriculture. Check the breeder’s name on the Internet to see if any complaints pop up.
Consider adopting a dog from an animal shelter or a breed rescue group. One in four dogs in shelters is a purebred. Regardless of whether they are purebred or mixed, many dogs housed in shelters are healthy, loving animals just waiting for the right family to take them home.

Check online to see whether the breeder is licensed with the federal government and if so, get a report of the latest inspection. At, click on FOIA Reading Room, inspection reports, inspection reports again, and finally breeder to find a state by state list of licensed kennel operators.

The USDA website can also provide you with a list of federally licensed breeders in each state but be aware that many breeders are not licensed.

Information obtained from “Saving Gracie,” author Carol Bradley

Protestor Dogs Governor Nixon for his Overturning of Puppy Mill Law « CBS St. Louis

Protestor Dogs Governor Nixon for his Overturning of Puppy Mill Law « CBS St. Louis

Directly From Wayne Pacelle.......

The Way Forward in Missouri
In the advancement of our cause, the path to progress is not always linear. We are advancing and securing gains on so many fronts, but there are inevitable set-backs along the way. Take the example of Missouri’s Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.

Lawmakers in Missouri failed to address an ever-expanding and worsening problem of puppy mills over many decades. The General Assembly, catering to the wishes of agribusiness and the puppy mill industry, provided political protection, and the industry grew to enormous proportions, with 3,000 mills and little in the way of strong animal welfare regulations or solid enforcement through the years.

HSUS, the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, and local organizations launched a ballot measure to correct the worst abuses of these large-scale dog breeders and to bring into law some modest standards to the care of dogs. Voters approved the measure, in the number-one puppy mill state.

Then, after a free and fair election, lawmakers repealed several core provisions of the ballot measure, and Gov. Jay Nixon signed these weakening provisions into law. The attack on Prop B has been a shameful example of politics at its worst, with the governor and a narrow majority of lawmakers subverting a vote of the people that occurred just a few months ago.

The new legislation removes the Prop B requirement that dogs get rest between breeding cycles, as well as the limit on the number of breeding dogs per puppy mill. It removes the requirement for prompt veterinary treatment of an illness or injury, unless a puppy mill operator subjectively decides that an illness or injury is “serious.” It gives dogs less space in cages than Prop B would have and it allows the millers five years to phase in the maximum space requirements. Finally, it replaces the criminal penalties for cruelty at puppy mills with civil penalties, except for repeat offenders.

Although we are extremely disappointed with the nullification of several core Prop B standards, we will work to make what remains in the law strong through the rulemaking process. We will endeavor to hold accountable the public officials who say they support strong laws and enforcement to protect dogs. Prop B would have taken effect in November 2011, and it is our firm hope that the new regulations will be adopted on a Prop B timeframe. We’ll advocate for that time frame, and for the strongest possible standards in our work with state regulators. It’s safe to say that even these minor improvements, along with the additional funding Gov. Nixon has pledged for inspections, would never have been considered were it not for Prop B.

Meanwhile, we are actively supporting the Voter Protection Act, a constitutional amendment to require a three-fourths vote in both houses of the legislature, or a subsequent vote of the people, in order to repeal or amend any citizen-passed initiative. We will work hard with a large and diverse group of coalition partners to place this measure on the November 2012 statewide ballot. The Voter Protection Act would provide constitutional protections for citizen ballot initiatives similar to those that exist in other states. The measure still allows the state legislature to exercise its legislative authority, and if there are major problems with an initiative they will be able to build consensus for a three-fourths vote. But it adds a layer of accountability and a higher threshold so the will of the people cannot be simply discarded with a narrow vote of the legislature, as it was with Prop B.

We will actively watch to see whether the new rules and enforcement help to improve the treatment of Missouri’s puppy mill dogs, or whether the abuses continue unchecked. If the situation does not improve dramatically for dogs, we will make all necessary preparations for a ballot initiative to restore the Prop B standards for the care of dogs in large-scale commercial breeding facilities. If Missourians approve the Voter Protection Act in 2012, it will help to protect the will of the people from being overturned a second time, and a future ballot initiative on puppy mills will have greater long-lasting protection from attacks by politicians and special interests.

More letters to the editors of newspapers across Missouri

Subverting judgment

I am disgusted with Gov. Jay Nixon for rolling over and signing Senate Bill 113. When I called to ask his office what we should tell our children when they ask why they should bother to vote, the woman who answered the telephone couldn't give me an answer.

Overturning Proposition B makes a mockery of the ballot initiative process. Our government should uphold the will of the people rather than allow special interests to subvert the judgment of voters.

Some people who voted against the measure were wrongly told that existing regulations on dog breeding are adequate. They are not. Under pre-Proposition B rules, a dog could be in a wire cage just six inches longer than her body, she could be confined in that cage for years and never let out, she need not ever see a veterinarian and she could be exposed to extreme temperatures. All of that was legal, and that's why voters approved Proposition B.

A majority of Missouri citizens favored Proposition B. The voters acted because the Legislature had failed to stop widespread puppy mill abuses.

Missouri's citizens spoke, demanding better protections for man's best friend. Our elected officials should have respected those results.

Kerry Colombo • Ballwin