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Legislation Protects Dogs and Breeding Businesses
This week, the Senate worked on Senate Bill 113, legislation that would make changes to Proposition B. In November, voters were presented with this legislation, which was added to the ballot by initiative petition. Ultimately, the issue passed, but by a narrow margin of 51.6 percent.
Proposition B, at its heart, is a good idea—it works to protect puppies and dogs in the state. However, putting dog breeders out of business with unfair regulations is not the way to accomplish this goal. Dog breeding is a major industry in the state—licensed dog breeding is a nearly $1 billion industry and between 25 to 40 percent of dogs in the nation are bred and raised in our state. The goal of Senate Bill 113 is to make sure dogs and puppies are bred and raised under safe conditions, while also ensuring that this industry can continue being successful in our state.
To do this, the legislation makes several changes to the initial Proposition B. First of all, it changes the name to the “Canine Cruelty Prevention Act,” to truly reflect the goal of the legislation. The bill actually adds protections for dogs in the state by going after unlicensed breeders, an issue that was not addressed in the original proposition. The Missouri Department of Agriculture will be able to go after unlicensed breeders by referring cases to the Attorney General, circuit attorney, and the local prosecutor. The bill also makes it a crime to operate without a license. The bill also raises the cap on the license fee for breeders from $500 to $2,500, and creates an additional fee of $25 per breeding facility to fund Operation Bark Alert, a state program launched in 2009 to crack down on unlicensed breeders. The additional funding will go to hiring more Department of Agriculture inspectors.
Additional provisions relate to licensed breeding operations, as well. Breeding facilities would be required to keep sale and vet records for two years on every dog, and make them available to Department of Agriculture inspectors upon request. Additional provisions relating to licensed breeders include:
* Requiring more inspections, with a minimum of four per year (two yearly vet inspections, one inspection from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, and one inspection from the U.S. Department of Agriculture).
* Increasing veterinarian involvement on how often a dog can breed, an exercise plan for each dog to maximize outdoor exercise, and guidance on normal and prudent attention to skin, coat, and nails. Veterinarians are also required for euthanasia.
* If, during a visual inspection, a veterinarian sees a dog with signs of disease or injury, a full physical inspection is required.
* Removing the provision in current law that limits the number of breeding dogs allowed to 50.
No one wants harm to come to man’s best friend, but we also need to make sure that the regulations that we have in place are fair to the respectable, law-abiding businesses that make their living by breeding dogs. The legislation now moves to the House for further consideration.
Sponsored Legislation Receives Senate Approval
This week, two of the bills I sponsored received final approval in the Senate. Senate Bill 219 affects local banks in the state by making sure that ATMs are able to charge an additional access fee if someone is making a withdrawal or modification to a bank account in a foreign country.
Senate Bill 284 is a bill I have discussed before in my weekly column. The bill ensures that drug trials can continue in Missouri by making sure that they do not have to follow some of the same regulations as wholesale or retail pharmaceuticals.
Senate Bills 219 and 284 will now go to the House for similar consideration.
Welcome to Your State Capitol
I was happy to welcome several groups to the Capitol this week. They included:
* Local members of the Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA) and school superintendents from the district.
* Members of Greater Ozarks Leadership Development.
* A group of students training to become nurse anesthetists.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any other matter regarding your state government, please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-1503; you are also welcome to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.