There are a few bills before the legislature that take up Proposition B — an initiative passed by voters in November that strengthens regulations on dog breeders. People on both sides of the issue crowded a House Agriculture Committee hearing to make their opinion heard.

Chairman Tom Loehner (R-Koeltztown) asks for a show of hands from both sides of the issue. Prop B supporters step up behind Rep. Stanley Cox, sponsor of the bill that would delete certain portions of Prop B.

Representative Stanley Cox (R-Sedalia) says his bill doesn’t repeal Proposition B, but removes some provisions he thinks are unfair to expect from dog breeders and would put most of them out of business.

AUDIO: Rep. Cox presents bill to Ag Committee [6:24 min.]

Voters passed Prop B with 52 percent of the vote in November. Opponents of the initiative say the new law puts nearly every dog breeder in the state out of business.

Cox says his bill only modifies the law, it doesn’t repeal it. Opponents counter that his modifications are essentially the same thing as repealing it.

Photo courtesy House Communications

Cox of Sedalia, says Prop B infringes on property rights, and counters scientific fact and animal husbandry standards. Other members of the House Agriculture Committee express concern that Prop B would be economically detrimental to a major business in Missouri. Committee members also said they worried farmers could be affected by Prop B if it would create precedent to encroach on cattle and poultry farming.

Cox says his bill only modifies the law. A separate bill (HB-94) filed by Rep. Tony Dugger (R-Hartville) would repeal it altogether.

House Bill 94, sponsored by Rep. Tony Dugger, 144, would repeal the law. Bill set to be heard but was not heard.

Cox’s bill — HB 131 — makes the following changes to the law:

(1) Renames the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act to the Dog Breeders Cruelty Prevention Act;

(2) Removes the provisions requiring owners to provide adequate shelter from the elements, sufficient housing, sufficient space to turn and stretch freely, necessary veterinary care, and adequate rest between breeding cycles;

(3) Increases the number of female dogs, from more than 10 to more than 100, that a breeder must own before the provisions of the act become applicable;

(4) Removes the provision limiting dog ownership to 50 female dogs for the purpose of breeding and selling any offspring as pets; and

(5) Removes the provision requiring water for dogs to be free of debris, feces, algae, and other contaminants.

Jessica Machetta reports [Listen, Mp3, 1:11 min.]