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Tag: missouri

Filming begins for “Marshall the Miracle Dog”

The story of Marshall — an abused, bullied and neglected yellow Labrador who was rescued from an animal hoarder — is on its way to becoming a movie.

Shooting began this week in Edwardsville, Illinois, according to NewsChannel 5 (KDSK in St. Louis), which has been following Marshall’s story for four years.

Marshall was one of about 60 animals rescued from an animal hoarder by the Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis.

He arrived there with a hole in his cheek, a leg so mangled it had to be amputated and other serious injuries.

Vets say is heart stopped three times on the operating table.

Humane Society officials credited his survival to his strong will to live, and they dubbed him the miracle dog.

Cynthia Willenbrock adopted Marshall, and wrote a children’s book about how he triumphed over the tragedies that confronted him.

The movie is based on that book, “Marshall the Miracle Dog.”

“It’s about that whole message of kindness to animals, kindness to each other, kindness in general,” said Willenbrock.

The movie, being shot mostly in Illinois, stars Shannon Elizabeth.

“I read the script and I fell in love. I was crying all through the script,” said the actress.

It also stars Max, a 1-year-old Lab playing the role of Marshall.

In addition to the book and movie, a school curriculum has been designed based on Marshall’s story, aimed at empowering high school juniors and seniors to serve as mentors to middle school and elementary students, passing along Marshall’s “five cornerstones” — empathy, strength, courage, kindness, and forgiveness.

Mother dog nurses orphaned raccoon

A rescued dog in eastern Missouri adopted an orphaned baby raccoon as her own after losing one of her puppies during labor.

The dog, named Sasha, had been surrendered to a shelter with what was suspected of being a tumor.

But after she was rescued by a group in St. Peters called SNUGGLE (Special Needs Under Gentle Guided Love Everyday) ultrasound tests showed the lump was two soon-to-be-born pups.

Only one of the puppies survived.

Around then, a baby raccoon who’d been found under a carport was brought to the same veterinarian.

“We started off bottle feeding it and just couldn’t keep up with its needs,” veterinarian Dr. Kelly Hogan said. So they offered Sasha the job. Both Sasha and her pup accepted the raccoon as one of their own.

“Even when he started making little raccoon kind of noises, she didn’t have a problem with it,” Hogan said. “And she loves him. She’s protective of him now.”

Eventually, the raccoon will be transferred to a wildlife rescue group and then released into the wild.

As SNUGGLE’s Sharon Maag sees it, Sasha — having been rescued herself — is returning the favor.

“We saved her life, and she saved the raccoon’s life … It’s the circle of life. I think that’s the way it goes.”

Missouri reaches compromise on Proposition B; drops limit on size of breeding operations

First, voters passed Proposition B — aimed at more closely regulating the sort of big dog breeding operations that had earned Missouri the nickname of the puppy mill state.

Then, the state legislature took steps to gut it, caving in to the concerns of breeders and agricultural interests.

Now, in a move that could put an end to the bitter war that has ensued over Proposition B, Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that he had brokered a compromise solution that will protect dogs as well and business people, according to the the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The agreement incorporates parts of the dog-breeding initiative passed by state voters last November and parts of a bill rewriting Proposition B, passed last week by the legislature, which apparently had no problem ignoring the will of voters.

The new agreement still requires larger cages with outdoor runs for breeding dogs, and annual exams, but it gives breeders additional time to meet new housing standards — and it no longer limits breeders to no more than 50 breeding dogs.

The agreement still needs approval by the Legislature before the mandatory May 13 adjournment of the legislative session.

“People with good minds and good will have come together to develop a Missouri solution to this Missouri issue, and together we have made significant progress,” Nixon said. “I look forward to continuing to work with these leaders as we move this proposal through the legislative process as swiftly and efficiently as possible.”

Trial opens in deaths of show dogs

Opening statements were made yesterday in the Missouri trial of Mary Wild, charged with animal abuse in connection with the deaths of seven show dogs who died when left overnight in a hot van last summer.

Wild, a 25-year-old dog handler from Arnold, Missouri, is charged with eight counts of misdemeanor animal abuse — one for each of the dogs she left in the van after returning from a dog show in Iowa last June.

Only one of the dogs, a Siberian husky, survived.

Defense attorney Brad Dede said he would show that “all reasonable and legal precautions” were taken to ensure the safety of the dogs and that his client is not guilty of a crime, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Authorities say the temperature inside the van could have reached 120 degrees.

Animal abuse is a Class A misdemeanor in Missouri, and the maximum penalty is up to a year in jail and a fine up to $1,000.

Video of police shooting dog prompts outrage

The fatal shooting of a dog during a February SWAT team raid in Columbia, Missouri, has prompted the police department to change its policies, Chief Ken Burton said at a news conference Thursday.

You might guess he was talking about the department’s dog-shooting policy, which, judging from this video, seems to be shoot first, shoot some more, and ask questions later.

But no. After killing a family’s pit bull, wounding their Welsh corgi, and terrorizing the suspect’s wife and child — in a bust that netted a mere palmful of marijuana — the police department has revamped department policy so that there won’t be lags between the time they obtain a search warrant and the time they, stormtrooper style, bust into homes.

Burton said the department moved slowly in Whitworth’s case because the SWAT team is made up of part-time members who hold other jobs within the department.

The fact that officer killed one of the suspect’s dogs, intentionally, and wounded another, accidentally — while the incident is still being investigated internally — seems, to him, of little import.

Burton said the pit bull was acting aggressively, and he defended the actions of the officers involved, according to The Missourian.

The suspect, Jonathan Whitworth, pleaded guilty on April 20 to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful use of drug paraphernalia and was fined $300.

Subsequently, the police video was released and found its way onto YouTube, prompting a surge of protests from animal activists.

“We’re getting death threats from literally all over the world,” Burton said.

Voters may get say on Missouri puppy mills

Nearly 200,000 signatures have been submitted to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office in an attempt to get the proposed “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act” on the November ballot.

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, the group spearheading the citizen-backed initiative, gathered 190,127 signatures, nearly twice as many as required.

“This can only be considered a massive outpouring of public support for the idea of puppy mill reform,” said Barbara Schmitz, campaign manager.

Backers say the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act will improve the lives of dogs by requiring large-scale breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food and clean water, necessary veterinary care, adequate housing, and adequate space and exercise.

Lawmakers in Iowa enacted puppy mill legislation earlier this year, and a similar bill in Oklahoma now awaits the governor’s signature. After Missouri, they are the next largest dog breeding states in the nation. Last year, 10 states approved legislation to address puppy mill problems.

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs is comprised of numerous individuals, veterinarians, and animal welfare organizations, including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and The Humane Society of the United States.

“We’re tired of being known as the puppy mill capital of the country,” Schmitz said. “We’re tired of having dogs being treated in such a substandard and cruel way.”

Missouri has been estimated to have more than 4,000 shoddy and inhumane high-volume breeders, and state officials been cracking down on them, the Jefferson City News Tribune reports.

Under the ballot measure, dog-breeders could only have 50 breeding dogs and would be required to feed animals daily, provide annual veterinary care and not breed animals more than twice every 18 months. Breeders also would have to follow rules for the dogs’ living space and house animals indoors with unfettered access to an outdoor exercise yard.

It would apply to people with at least 10 female dogs for breeding. Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to 15 days in jail and a $300 fine.

Dog breeders and many Missouri farming groups have criticized the initiative and say it could lead to efforts to restrict livestock production in the state.

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.

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