Missouri Dog Measure Prompts Rallies In Jefferson City
JEFFERSON CITY- Debate over how to regulate the state's dog breeders has triggered dueling rallies from people seeking to sway lawmakers and Governor Jay Nixon.
Voters this past November approved a ballot measure that stiffens rules for breeders. Lawmakers last week passed legislation that replaces most of the provisions in that law. Nixon though, has not signed the bill.
Backers of the voter-approved law held signs and chanted outside the Governor's Mansion on Wednesday and urged Nixon to veto the legislation. They think not having a cap on the number of dogs it can have in a facility allows breeders to not follow restrictions easier.
"It's a complete repeal of Proposition B," Prop B supporter Patricia McEachern said. "The voters voted to improve the lives of Dogs in Missouri."
Just blocks away at the state Capitol, supporters of Senate Bill 113 held their own rally and urged Nixon to sign the bill. Several Republican lawmakers and Nixon's Agriculture Department director also spoke. A dogbreeder from Warsaw, Missouri came to the rally.
"Business has been cut in half," Brenda Arnett said of her dog breeding business. "That's what makes my land payment. I don't have a job. I don't have a college education, so this is what I do."
Republican senator Mike Parson from Bolivar, Mo. introduced the crowd of about 700 first outside the Capitol. He wants to makes sure farmers in Missouri have the choice about whether or not to limit the amount of dogs they have.
"We protect the state of Missouri from the outside interests that try to come in and tell us what we do in our daily lifes," Parson said.
Nixon has not said whether he will sign or veto the dog bill.
Nixon's administration has attempted to broker a compromise among agricultural and other groups, one that does not fully agree with Senate Bill 113.