Missourians to vote on Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act

Missourians have a lot on their ballots this mid-term election.

Missouri has more than one thousand registered dog breeders in the state.

But the Humane Society of Missouri says some of those breeders are running puppy mills.

That's why there is a petition on this year's mid-term election ballot to tighten restrictions on dog breeders.

Proposition B requires dog breeders to provide sufficient food, clean water, housing and space for dogs, along with proper veterinary care. It would also prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs. Violations of puppy mill cruelty would result in a misdemeanor. This proposition wouldn't be in lieu of any laws that are already in place, it would be in addition to them.

"It has nothing to do with anything but companion animals, dogs, that are in facilities that need our help in making sure that they don't continue to suffer and that the standards are humane enough that these animals produce the kinds of animals that we want in our homes," said Humane Society of Missouri Vice President of Communications Jeane Jae.

Not everyone in the state of Missouri is for the proposition, though. Missouri State Senator Wes Shoemyer thinks it will restrict people so much, they won't be able to afford to live on their land.

"This is about absolutely taking an industry away from the state of Missouri and a lively-hood away from peoples. The people that we're driving off are the breeders that are registered," said Missouri State Senator Wes Shoemyer.

Missouri has 1,072 commercial breeders -- the highest number in the United States. To put that into perspective, Iowa ranks 4th with 320, and Illinois has just 43.

"It's like anything else, it's the 1 or 2% that give the 98% a bad name and its many of these black market or kennels that are unregistered within the state that's the ones that we're really having problems with," said Shoemyer.

But there is one thing on which both sides agree.

"We all agree that animals should be treated humanely and in a way that is compassionate," said Shoemyer.

"Animals are suffering every day, right now, they need our help. Missourians are very compassionate and understanding people. They care about their pets," said Jae.

By voting yes to this petition, you would like to see tighter restrictions for dog breeders.

A "no" vote will not change the current Missouri law.