The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

October 21, 2010

In our view: Prop B won’t fix problem

Are you concerned that a vote against Proposition B is also a vote against puppies?

Don’t let the subject matter of this one suck you into creating a law that punishes responsible dog breeders, yet does not address those who have figured out how to operate off the radar.

That is the crux of Missouri’s problem.

Proposition B appeals to the animal lover in all of us to do the right thing, and there’s nothing wrong with that, except in this case we are creating more mandates that duplicate many of our current laws. So, even if you think you are voting to eliminate the problem of bad breeders, you aren’t.

Missouri has state laws on the books on animal abuse and neglect requiring owners and breeders to provide food, water, proper housing and medical attention to their animals. What we need is the means to enforce the laws we already have. That’s a problem that’s only going to get worse as staffs and hours are reduced because of state, county and local government budget shortfalls.

Local law enforcement needs more help and so does the Department of Agriculture, which conducts inspections of kennels run by licensed dog breeders.

We also need more people willing to report breeders who are breaking the law. Some of the cases we hear about involve licensed breeders, but there are a number of kennels operating in Missouri with absolutely no oversight.

So, how do we fix that?

We sit down with local legislators and local law enforcement to talk about pushing for more money to enforce the laws we already have on the books. We ramp up inspections and we prosecute those who break the law.

If protecting puppies is the goal, then we think there is a better way than passing Prop B.

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