The puppy mill petitions have been filed with the Secretary of State. In a few weeks we’ll know if it makes it to the ballot in November. This is the petition campaign that has some farm groups in a tizzy. They say the groups behind this petition campaign to require humane treatment of breeding dogs will be back with petitions later that threaten animal agriculture.

Supporters of these petitions say all they want to do is make sure dog breeders breed and raise dogs in a humane way. Barbara Schmitz of University City, the Campaign Manager, says 1500 volunteers have gathered signatures in every congressional district. The group needs about 98,000 valid signatures. Schmitz says more than 190,000 signatures have been submitted from people who are tired of Missouri being known as the capital of puppy mills.

The petitions will soon be sent to county election officials who will check to see that the signatures are from registered voters. Petition campaigns with double the required signatures usually make it.

Here’s the ballot title for the petitions submitted to the Secretary of State:

OFFICIAL BALLOT TITLE AS CERTIFIED BY SECRETARY OF STATE

Shall Missouri law be amended to: require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles; prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets; and create a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations?

It is estimated state governmental entities will incur costs of $654,768 (on-going costs of $521,356 and one-time costs of $133,412). Some local governmental entities may experience costs related to enforcement activities and savings related to reduced animal care activities.

AUDIO:  Chris Blank of the AP interview Barbara Schmitz 8:06 mp3

(Note: This interview is slightly edited to delete the noise of equipment used to move the boxes of petitions into the Secretary of State’s Office).