St. Louis, Mo. (KMOX). Two years ago, images of matted and diseased dogs in tiny wire cages helped spur changes in Missouri law. Dog breeders were asked to sit up and heed new commands about how they managed their kennels.
KMOX News asked whether it’s helping the state shed it’s image as the “puppy mill capitol.”
Bob Baker, Executive Director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, says more than half of the commercial dog breeders in the state of Missouri have closed up shop, “and the ones that have remained have dramatically cut down on the number of dogs in order to come into compliance.”
Baker credits stepped up prosecution by the Attorney General for putting the worst offenders out of business. And he tells KMOX there have been significant changes in the Department of Agriculture with a tripling of inspectors. “They can always have more inspections and more follow up and oversight, however we have seen a dramatic increase.”
Baker does admit it may be years before Missouri sheds its image as the “puppy mill” state. Baker cites recent action by Los Angeles to halt the sale of puppies in pet stores because of repeated complaints about sick animals bred in Missouri and other states.
Dog breeders contend the new rules have hurt the industry and have filed suit.