State lawmakers have approved changes to the state's dog breeding regulations in a deal with Gov. Jay Nixon.
Nixon called the new legislation "a dramatic, important, significant step" that would improve the care of dogs while ensuring breeders can continue to operate.
The industry has an estimated $1 billion impact in Missouri.
In the end, Nixon and lawmakers eliminated parts of the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act" passed last November by voters, including a limit of 50 breeding dogs per business.
Other portions were changed. The new law sought potential middle ground on the specifics of the living-space requirements, and it gives breeders more time to comply with the new rules.
Governor Nixon released the following statement regarding his signature of the repeal on Prop B, or the puppy mill law: I am extremely pleased that agriculture and animal welfare groups from across our state have worked together to reach a Missouri solution to this complex issue" Nixon said. "The Missouri solution upholds the will of the voters by protecting the welfare of dogs, while also ensuring the future of Missouri agriculture. I look forward to having the Missouri solution, Senate Bill 161, on my desk as soon as possible.
The ballot measure, called Proposition B, was approved by about 2 percent of the statewide vote as supporters in the Kansas City nd St. Louis areas outweighed opposition in much of the rest of th e state. The initiative was scheduled to take effect as law this N ovember. The bill Nixon initially signed superseded that by making c hanges that take effect Aug. 28. However, the compromise measurethat Nixon signed last repeals the earlier bill and takes effect i mmediately.
Supporters of the voter-approved law said Missouri's previous regulations for breeders were too weak, allowing operators to keep dogs in wire cages and exposed to excess heat and cold. Critics of the voter-backed law have said it would wipe out the dog-breeding industry by forcing costly renovations to facilities and effectively limiting how many dogs the businesses can sell.
----------------- Original Story from KRCG in Jefferson City, Mo. : Governor Jay Nixon has signed legislation repealing part of a voter-approved dog law in an agreement with lawmakers to consider more changes to breeder regulations.
Nixon signed the legislation Wednesday. It eliminates a cap of 50 breeding dogs and rolls back various requirements on dogs' living conditions. In the changed version, breeders would need to provide appropriate space for dogs based on regulations set by the Department of Agriculture. In addition, operators would pay more for licenses and help finance a program that crack down on unlicensed breeders. Earlier this month, the House and Senate approved the revision that Nixon signed Wednesday.
Nixon's administration has also brokered a deal with state-based agriculture and animal welfare groups to make more changes to the ballot measure passed by voters last November. The House could consider that legislation this week. It would give dog breeders more time to comply with expanded housing requirements.Republicans last week urged the Governor to sign the bill, then later work on a compromise.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)