Hoping to end abuse at puppy mills, a group of animal welfare organizations is working to put a ballot initiative before Missouri voters this year.
Missourians for the Protection of Dogs will try to gather 100,000 signatures of registered voters so the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act can be placed on the November statewide ballot.
The measure would require large breeding operations to provide their dogs sufficient food, clean water, veterinary care, housing, space to move and lie down, regular exercise and rest between breeding cycles.
The law would apply only to breeders with more than 10 non-spayed female dogs, and it would limit the number of breeding dogs to 50.
"Animal welfare organizations have long reviled puppy mills — large-scale commercial dog breeding operations that often treat animals as cash crops rather than companion animals," said Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States.
The Humane Society is one of four animal welfare organizations that formed the Missourians for the Protection of Dogs.
The others are the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The groups hope to have the same success that animal rights activists had in 1998 when they pushed for a ban on cockfighting in Missouri after trying unsuccessfully to get the General Assembly to approve legislation.
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