Missouri Legislature to Puppies: Drop Dead

Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

The Republican Party in microcosm, via Balloon Juice — last November the voters of Missouri passed (with 52 percent of the vote) a referendum called the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, which established humane standards for dog breeding operations. The state had become known as the “puppy mill capital” because its lax and ambiguous laws allowed breeders to get away with horrendously substandard care.

The act requires that adult dogs be given a reasonable amount of space and shelter; it outlaws stacked cages with wire floors; it requires that dogs be fed at least once a day and have access to water at all times; it requires that each dog be seen by a vet at least once a year; it limits litters per dog to 2 within 18 months; it requires that euthanasia be performed by a vet. It also limits the number of adult breeding dogs that any person can possess to 50.

Unfortunately, voters also elected a pack of wingnut teabaggers to serve in the state legislature. And guess what? They’re tripping all over themselves in a mad rush to overturn the puppy mill regulations. Because, you know, Missouri doesn’t have any other problems that need attention.

People opposed to the “puppy mill” regulations called it big government run wild and even a step toward communism. Apparently the Daily Show featured one of the anti-regulation activists last year —

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Yes, the anti-regulation teabagger interviewed here really did explain that she is opposed to breeder regulations because “They’re expecting all the breeders to sit there and pay for exorbitant amounts of care that are not needed, like adequate food, adequate water, adequate space.”

A revised bill that already came out of committee eliminates the 50-dog limit and the provisions for providing space adequate for dogs to move — turn around, stretch, etc. — plus access to daily exercise. This is “unreasonable government regulation” to these people.

And if we want to talk about “big government,” why is it not “big government” for the legislature to ignore the referendum vote? See “Voters as Nuisances” at St. Louis Today

Missouri’s state representatives and senators, after all, slog away for four long months a year (part-time, with a 10-day spring break), making the tough decisions about which bills written by which lobbyists they should pass.

But every now and then, some nervy Missourians get it into their heads to read the part of the state constitution about how to make laws without the Legislature. When they succeed, legislators then have to hole up with more lobbyists to figure out the best way to nullify the laws that the people passed without them.

As I understand it, state law does allow the legislature to repeal or amend voter initiated statutes. But it seems that the Missouri legislature has been doing this a lot, and not just to the puppy mill law. The state might save itself some money by abolishing the legislature altogether and just letting the lobbyists run things, which is pretty much how it works anyway. Legislators are just the middlemen.

With the coveted title of Puppy Mill Capital of America at stake, a House committee this week has been considering ways to cancel the election results. One proposal simply would repeal the law. Another would exempt existing breeders. A third course, warmly received by many committee members on Tuesday, would eliminate such pesky provisions of the law as prohibiting dangerous overcrowding in cages, protecting dogs from bad weather and providing them veterinary care when needed.

Opponents of the law insist that city folk don’t understand the livestock business and voted for the bill in ignorance. Some legislators regard the law as part of a plot masterminded by the Humane Society of the United States, a national group that provided $2 million for the Proposition B campaign. “The purpose of these groups is to keep us from eating any meat,” said Rep. Ed Schieffer, D-Troy.

It’s our understanding that Missouri breeders are raising dogs to be sold as pets, not food.

Given the depravity of some dog breeders, I wouldn’t be too sure.

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 3, 2011 @12:56 pm

    Teabagger response:
    “Of course it’s creeping Communism, you Liberal Fascists. You know who else was nice to his dogs? HITLER, THAT’S, WHO!!!”

    Oy… That’s all I can say about this.
    Not “Mad Magazine,” not “National Lampoon,” not even “The Onion,” could have come up with something this absurd without an editor asking the writers, “Really? No, really… OK, put down the bongs, and stop drinking at lunch. You keep writing BS like this, and I’ll think you’ve all lost your minds?”

  2. PurpleGirl  •  Feb 3, 2011 @2:25 pm

    Every one of those damn legislators should be put into a cage and experience the living conditions of the dogs in puppy mills. I have no other words for how fucking despicable they are.

  3. moonbat  •  Feb 3, 2011 @2:42 pm

    I watched part of the Stewart video – couldn’t make it to the end – and wasn’t sure if the Teabagger lady was for real or not – with her absurd up-is-down arguments she seemed like somebody out of “The Onion”. Unless everyone in Missouri is on the payroll of the puppy mills, it’s amazing to me that these stoopid arguments prevailed.

    I mean, you don’t even have to dig for the truth, wingnut lady is giving it to you right in your face, clear as day, and she’s telling you it’s somehow wrong. And the people of Missouri bought it.

    In other News From the Outback, I finally realized (months later), that my former home state of Pennsylvania (finally) elected well known wingnut Pat Toomey to replace Arlen Spector as senator. I expect him to continue in the Christian right tradition begun by Rick Santorum. Thank God I got outta there.

  4. maha  •  Feb 3, 2011 @3:32 pm

    wasn’t sure if the Teabagger lady was for real or not

    Apparently she is; I found her mentioned in news stories about opposition to the dog breeder regulations. But yeah, it’s hard to tell sometimes.

    And the people of Missouri bought it.

    Well, to be fair, a majority of voters last November voted for the breeder regulations. But the Missouri State Legislature has long been a thing of wonder. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

  5. uncledad  •  Feb 3, 2011 @5:02 pm


    I looked on the missouri state legislature website, they don’t have any elected teabaggers they are all republicants, lets not let the GOP off the hook all these knuckle draggers are REPUBLICANS!

  6. Doug Hughes  •  Feb 3, 2011 @6:02 pm

    You might expect that the puppy mills have taken the wishes of the voter to heart and will be humane without regulation or inspection, as the free market always is.

    (I got through that with a straight face.) What WILL happen is business as usual for max profit. IF democrats are smart, (and it doesn’t happen often) – early in 2012 there needs to be a hidden camera expose of the conditions for dogs in these K9 gulags. It needs to get national attention how the will of the voter was thwarted by the GOP with a story that hits the viewer emotionally. Just before the election. There’s lots of lemonade in these lemons.

  7. maha  •  Feb 3, 2011 @6:41 pm

    There’s lots of lemonade in these lemons.

    Agree. BTW, I did some checking on the opposition to the original referendum, and I take some people believed that if the referendum passed, the Humane Society was going to come and take away their family pets. I found this blog post from last fall

    Remember Joe the Plumber? Joe Wurzelbacher who campaigned for McCain in 2008? He’s gotten involved in Missouri’s issue, on the Alliance for Truth website, siding with the puppy mills — and calling himself a Tea Party man. (Odd that the Tea Party favors puppy mills, isn’t it? I know they don’t like taxes, but they don’t like dogs either?)

    The Humane Society is “cowardly [sic] hiding behind animal cruelty, lying to our citizens and taking our constitutional rights away — one state at a time,” Joe writes. “This bill is just a stepping stone. HSUS eventually wants to extend this law to ALL animals. Their idea of utopia is a United States with NO animal ownership; NO meat to eat; NO pets; NO hunting; NO fishing; NO service animals.”

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Feb 3, 2011 @7:32 pm

    Joe the Plumber, Joe Wurzelbacher, I’d say is as dumb as a dog, except the dumbest dog in the world is Einstein compared to that total, total imbecile.

    I’m with Purple Girl. Have these legislators live like these dogs for a week, with all of the same conditions, just adapted to size (maybe). No chance to get out. And if they still want to do this, well, at least they’ll know how the dogs and pups felt.
    Otherwise, I put them into the ‘Circle of Hell’ right below Michael Vick. But you know, Vick seems to have learned his lesson, so maybe these evil clown should be one circle closer than him so Satan has an easier reach for them.
    How low can you go? Never mind, they’ll find a way to top this in a week – if that long…

  9. Broadway Carl  •  Feb 3, 2011 @9:21 pm

    Food for thought: How many of these puppy mill advocates demanded the head of Michael Vick on a platter?

  10. Doug Hughes  •  Feb 4, 2011 @8:01 am

    Carl – What Vick did was cruel – because he did not make a PROFIT from the abuse.

    The puppy mills aren’t being mean for pleasure – only profit. That makes cruelty a virtue.

  11. goatherd  •  Feb 4, 2011 @2:31 pm

    Speaking of “Joe the Plumber” wouldn’t you like to see a special edition of “Jeopardy” with “Joe the Plumber”, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann? It would be a great charity fundraiser.

  12. Lynne  •  Feb 4, 2011 @2:38 pm

    Just another state I won’t be moving to any time soon.

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