The Secretary of State’s Office has approved, for circulation, an effort to place the so-called puppy mill initiative on the 2010 ballot. Proponents of the effort now have the opportunity to collect tens of thousands of valid signatures from Missourians if voters are to have an opportunity to approve or reject the initiative.
“It has cleared a hurdle,” said Abe Rakov, Deputy Director of Communications with the Secretary of State’s Office, in an interview with the Missourinet. “Our office has approved the petition for circulation for a statutory change that would be made if this is approved.”
This means proponents are allowed to begin collecting signatures.
“For any statutory change the petitioner has to obtain signatures from 5 percent of the total votes cast in 6 of the state’s 9 congressional districts,” said Rakov. “If you pick the 6 lowest voting congressional districts from 2008 you’d be around 92,000 signatures.”
91,818 to be exact, based on the number of votes cast in the 2008 gubernatorial election, with 5 percent from each of the 6 districts with the lowest vote totals.
There are two initiative petitions that are practically identical and both have been approved for circulation.
“The text of the petitions are the same,” said Rakov. “They differ in form. One petition calls for the actual ballot summary language to be placed on each page of the petition. So, while the text is the same the physical petition would look a little bit different.”
In brief, the initiative – if approved – would require large-scale breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, space, and veterinary care. It would prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs. It would also create a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations.
All signatures must be submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office by May 2, 2010.