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BBB confirms Missouri is tops in puppy mills

missouriMissouri is the puppy mill capital of America — even the St. Louis Better Business Bureau says so.

A study by the BBB says the state — home to 30 percent of the nation’s large scale, federally licensed puppy sellers — has no hope of keeping the industry in check.

The state has four times more puppy mills than the next highest state, according to Chris Thetford, of the St. Louis BBB.

“Consumers end up with diseased animals from the outset, which ultimately end up costing them large amounts of money in veterinarian bills, and that was what motivated our study,” Thetford told KMOX News.

According to the BBB study, Missouri law mandates yearly on-site checkups of the state’s 1,800 licensed dog breeders, but there are only about a dozen inspectors, who also have other duties.

“Ultimately the issue is that there are so many puppy breeders in the state of Missouri, and a lack of ability of the state government to keep up with those, which leads to an ineffective enforcement of the laws.”

The bureau recommended raising annual licensing fees, which have stayed the same for nearly two decades, and better educating consumers to adopt pets from a shelter.


Comment from Marjorie Williams
Time March 20, 2010 at 4:38 pm

As a Missouri resident, I find this so sad. Luckily, there is a major petition drive going on right now in the St. Louis area at least to put a stop to these awful practices.
In the meantime, there are many, many great breed specific rescues and even more great shelters to find wonderful new best friends at.

Comment from Corgi Adopter
Time March 22, 2010 at 10:36 am

Miss Williams, I agree with you comment about adopting dogs from rescue societies and shelters.

But your comment about the “major petition drive” is misinformed. The petition currently being circulated by people associated with the Humane Society of the United States will do very little to alleviate Missouri’s problems with unwanted dogs.

Missouri already has kennel regulations that exceed federal regulations.

The Statute called for in the HSUS petition does very,very little to provide additional financial or personnel resources to the Missouri Department of Agriculture so that required inspections and needed enforcement can be carried out. Also, the statute would only increases the regulatory load on licensed breeders who usually operate well with in the law to begin with. The proposed Statute does nothing to beef up investigation and enforcement against unlicensed opeations.

Sadly, this is typical of HSUS initiatives. They confuse the issue, distract resources from true corrections to the problem and collect money all the way to the bank. And while HSUS bank accounts grow, the organization spends almost nothing (less than 2% of annual donations collected) to support local animal shelters that really do care for an place abandoned pets.

Instead of signing the ill-advised HSUS petition, contact your state legislator and ask for more funds and staff for the Department of Agriculture Blue Ribbon Kennel program and Operation Bark taskforce.

If asked to sign the HSUS petition, please politely refuse then contact your State Representative and Senator and tell them you want MDA to have the resources needed to administer Missouri’s present kennel laws.