The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS — The state that has come under fire for being the “puppy mill” capital of the U.S. on Monday announced an aggressive campaign to investigate and prosecute unlicensed dog breeders.
Prosecution Bark Alert is the second phase of Missouri’s effort to stop unlicensed and substandard dog breeders from operating in the state.
Missouri, estimated to have more than 4,000 shoddy and inhumane high-volume dog-breeding businesses, has been identified as the nation’s capital for “puppy mills.”
The state is trying to shed that reputation, and Agriculture Director Jon Hagler has pledged to do more to crack down on bad breeders. Earlier this year, Hagler announced Operation Bark Alert, which allows people to report unlicensed breeders directly to him by e-mail.
On Monday, he said that effort had identified more than 200 unlicensed breeders now under investigation. They were reported by neighbors, puppy purchasers and others.
Joined by Attorney General Chris Koster, Hagler said the next phase would involve Missouri’s top law enforcement agency prosecuting breeders who refuse to obtain a license and meet state standards.
Since taking office in January, Hagler has taken steps to better enforce a 1992 state law for protecting animals raised by breeders. But he also has said his agency does not have the resources to conduct inspections every year as required by law. Monday’s message was more emphatic.
“Unlicensed breeders put licensed operators at a competitive disadvantage and animals at risk,” said Hagler, who has adopted a puppy mill rescue, an Australian shepherd named Jackson. “Missouri has led the nation in licensing professional breeders. We will lead the nation in cracking down on unlicensed breeders.”
Koster said he has assigned an attorney to work with agriculture inspectors to “corral” and prosecute substandard and unlicensed breeders, who will be shut down if they refuse to meet state standards.
The Associated Press
- State News
Oklahoma petition for medical marijuana signing up thousands of new voters
Medical marijuana may be the state's newest gateway drug -- to voting.
Miners earn top seed in district American Legion tourney
The Joplin Miners are the No. 1 seed for this week’s Triple-A District 15 Tournament at Carl Junction.
Rep. Reiboldt withdraws from debate about farming amendment
Southwest Missouri Democrats on Wednesday will sponsor a program on the Right to Farm Amendment, but it unclear if there will be a debate on the measure.
Oklahoma lawmaker not upset by convict’s delayed death
State Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, said his thoughts turned to Clayton Lockett’s murder victim when he learned Lockett had died of a heart attack shortly after his formal execution was halted because of problems with the lethal drug injection process.
Oklahoma governor orders review of failed execution
Gov. Mary Fallin ordered a thorough review Wednesday of the botched lethal drug execution of a convicted murderer that left him writhing and grunting. But the governor said executions will continue in Oklahoma, and the review by the state Department of Public Safety is to determine if medical and other protocols were followed in the failed execution of Clayton D. Lockett.
Party on? No local love in Princeton Review rankings
There's no love for Missouri Southern State University, Pittsburg State University or Crowder College in the new rankings issued by the Princeton Review. Which, given many of the survey categories, isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Gov. Nixon declares state of emergency in Missouri
Gov. Jay Nixon today declared a state of emergency in Missouri in response to severe winter weather that began early this morning, bringing hazardous travel and the possibility of power outages.
Publicist: Andy Williams dies
According to a publicist, Emmy-winning TV host and 'Moon River' crooner Andy Williams has died.
Lions climb into share of MIAA men's basketball lead
Without taking the floor, Missouri Southern has climbed into a first-place tie in the MIAA men’s basketball race.
2.6 magnitude earthquake recorded in Oklahoma
The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a 2.6 magnitude earthquake near Wellston in central Oklahoma.
No injuries or damage is reported.
- More State News Headlines
- Oklahoma petition for medical marijuana signing up thousands of new voters