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Prop. B debated on St. Louis on the Air

(Humane Society of the United States)

By Bill Raack, St. Louis Public Radio

ST. LOUIS – Opponents of Proposition B on the ballot next month in Missouri say the so-called "puppy mill cruelty prevention act" would unnecessarily damage a respectable industry.

The citizen's initiative would require large-scale dog breeding operations to meet higher standards of care for their animals and limit the number of dogs they can have. Jim Foster, a veterinarian in northeast Missouri and a member of a Proposition B opposition group, says the changes would penalize reliable breeders.

"The supply of the good puppies is going to be gone. Why? Because the good people out there, they're not going to be able to financially afford to do any of this," Foster said, "That's what the Missouri Department of Ag has already stated that there won't be a licensed kennel that will be able to comply with any of this financially."

Supporters of Prop B said that it will make a huge difference in the lives of dogs in Missouri's breeding facilities and that Missouri leads the country in the number of so-called "puppy mills."

Barbara Schmitz, with the Humane Society of Missouri and a Prop B supporter, said it would help curb some of the worst problems in the state.

"Those include overcrowded cages, cages that harm the feet and legs of dogs that are housed in them for years on end," Schmitz said, "It includes adequate access to exercise, veterinary care when they're sick or injured. Very basic, modest things that will help to ensure that the dogs have a humane life."

Both sides discussed the proposition on "St. Louis on the Air" Thursday.