Fixing the MO Puppy Mill Problem

Last week Proposition B, aka the “Puppy Mill Initiative,” passed in Missouri by a slim margin.

According to, “Missourians for the Protection of Dogs led the effort for the certified measure that proposed adopting new rules for dog-breeders, including capping the number of dogs that are used for breeding purposes, require resting periods between breeding and establish other requirements. The measure required that dog-breeders only be able to have 50 breeding dogs and required them to feed those animals daily and regularly.”

Opponents to the bill said that the Humane Society and other similar organizations that are behind Missourians for the Protection of Dog just wants a foot in the door to control breeding activities, including livestock. They say the coalition misled people into thinking that MO didn’t already have regulations on breeding.

My Opinion: Much of the opposition must have come from people invested in dog-breeding farms (puppy mills) or other types of big-money farming operations because anyone involved in rescue in the area has seen how ineffective the current breeding regulations are. I know this first-hand because the rescue I work with takes in many dogs from MO puppy mills. In fact, my “foster failure,” Bill, was from a MO puppy mill. At only two-years-old, he was so traumatized that he didn’t move at all for three months. After about six months with us, he finally started getting in and out of the car by himself. He was that much of a mess, and his emotional distress is nothing compared to some of the physical issues these puppy mill survivors come to us with (my recent foster needed an eye removed because of an unattended puppy mill injury).

The passage of Prop B is a great long-term victory for puppy mill dogs, but the immediate future for some of these dogs is uncertain at best, not that uncertainty is anything different from the norm.

I spoke with Barb Schmitz of Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, and she said that dogs have been auctioned in MO every weekend for a long time, and when they are no longer helpful, they are often ‘dealt with,’ meaning they are outright killed or not treated when they are sick. Some are abandoned or relinquished to rescue. Barbara told me that there hasn’t been much of a change regarding what is happening with the dogs right now. However, Missourians for the Protection of Dogs is offering options to these “facility owners,” including takingĀ  in any dogs and distributing them to shelters where they can receive veterinary care and find new homes.

How You Can Help: You can stay in the loop and help by signing up for the Missourians for the Protection of Dogs email list and answering calls to action.

I’ll be doing my part by continuing to foster puppy mill survivors, and you can become a foster, too, by signing up with a local rescue group or shelter. Often puppy mill survivors are passed from shelters to rescues where they can be rehabilitated in foster care, so even though Missourians for the Protection of dogs is distributing survivors to shelters, there is a good chance many will end up in rescues and rescues will be looking for more foster homes.

If you can’t foster, please consider becoming a transport volunteer, dog walker at your local shelter, or simply donating a few dollars each month to your favorite animal rescue organization.