Prop B repealed in Missouri, replaced with "compromise" bill

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Jefferson City, Mo. -- A new law has been signed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon that replaces the highly controversial Proposition B, last fall's ballot issue aimed at ending puppy mills.

Jefferson City, Mo.

— A new law has been signed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon that replaces the highly controversial Proposition B, last fall’s ballot issue aimed at ending puppy mills.

After its passage, Prop B was criticized by many in the veterinary profession for doing little to guarantee the proper care of puppies other than to limit the number of animals kept in breeding facilities.

Opponents of Prop B, who began efforts to repeal it a month after its passage, said the initiative would weaken Missouri’s existing laws on dog breeding. The laws already in effect offered more protection than Prop B, they argued, but the state didn’t have the means to enforce them.

Several bills to repeal or change Prop B were introduced, but only one was signed by Nixon. The bill, Senate Bill 113, repeals Prop B and replaces it with new laws that represent a compromise on both sides of the issue, according to the governor’s office.

“I am extremely pleased that agriculture and animal welfare groups from across our state have worked together to reach a Missouri solution to this complex issue,” Nixon said in an April 27 statement on the bill’s signing.

Under Missouri’s original Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA) program, the fee to operate certain dog facilities was $500 per year. The new law increases that fee to $2,500, according to legislation. It also requires that anyone subject to the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act (formerly the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act under Prop B) would have to retain all veterinary and sales records for two years.

No limit is placed on the number of dogs that can be bred or sold, even though Prop B included a limit of 50. The new legislation doubles the minimum space requirements previously set by the state for each dog by 2012. The space requirement will triple by 2016, when a prohibition against wire flooring in cages will be added. Any new canine breeding facilities built after April 15, 2011 will have to comply with the 2016 standards, according to the bill.

Additionally, Prop B required at least one veterinary exam per year and prompt treatment for illness or injury, but the new law requires two visual inspections per year, though they don’t have to be hands-on examinations. The new law also requires prompt treatment, but only for “serious” illness or injury.

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