JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Debate over Missouri’s dog breeding industry and the regulations governing it has weaved through the ballot box, the floors of the state House and Senate and the state Department of Agriculture. And the discussion is not done yet.

Several humane groups have voiced concerns that increased costs for the state licenses of animal shelters could cause financial problems for those facilities. Shelters lost an exemption from the licensing fees under a law approved last year, and the license charges for shelters, commercial breeders, kennels and others was increased this year from a maximum of $500 to up to $2,500.

“It’s horrible public policy,” said Barbara Schmitz, the Missouri state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Shelters and rescue groups are nonprofit organizations. They’re performing a community service. They are taking in animals that have no homes.”

Schmitz and other critics, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, call it a “tax” and warn that it could force some shelters to close. Schmitz said opponents are pursuing several options, including a lawsuit that they filed earlier this year in the Capitol’s home of Cole County and changes through the Legislature.

Meanwhile, commercial breeders said many of the dogs cared for in shelters did not come from their industry and that the state’s shelters should help licensed breeders bear the financial cost of Missouri’s regulation efforts.

“We believe that it’s only fair for those facilities to pay their fair share as well,” said Karen Strange, the president of the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (4)
  1. angela says:

    Why should shelters/rescues not pay fees for their inspections? The breeders have had to foot the bill for shelter inspections for nearly two decades. The measly one dollar per sale can be added to the price of the dog or cat. Customers will gladly pay one dollar more for a wonderful unwanted second-hand dog they can feel good about ‘rescuing’. OR the shelter/rescue can have a fundraiser and let the public pay for their dollar-per-animal fee. Better yet, call HSUS up to help pay the fees. After all, HSUS invaded Missouri and made outrageous demands of licensed kennels and duped the confused voters into passing Prop B to destroy the dog breeding industry. The fees are some of the fallout from the havoc HSUS created. When will the shelters/rescues quit aligning themselves with HSUS when HSUS is taking donations away from shelters (by fooling the donors into believing they are helping homeless, abused, shelter dogs and cats, when HSUS is padding their pension plans, fundraising, and funding bad bills to destroy animal agriculture)?.

    1. lovesanimals says:

      The fees people are willing to pay to adopt do not generally cover the costs of the care of the animal, particularly in the case of rescues that operate in rural areas. Have a fundraiser to cover the licensing fees? Most of the money from fundraisers is needed to cover the basic costs of just keeping the non-profit shelter running–and any money spent on licensing fees doesn’t go to the care of the animals. That said, the problem is not that there is a licensing fee. I work at a rescue, and I don’t have a problem with paying something. The problem is that a NON-PROFIT rescue/shelter is being asked to pay the exact same amount as a FOR-PROFIT breeder.

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