Rural Community Hesitant About Prop B
SHELBINA - Barking about the controversy surrounding Proposition B, or the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act can be heard far into the pastures of rural Missouri, and it’s not coming from the usual suspects. The controversy lies below the explicit declaration of the proposition, a fear that the sounds of yelping dogs might drown out what some think is a hidden agenda of the Humane Society of the United States, or HSUS.
Jim Foster is a veterinarian. He lives a life of dedication to animals in his community- including a multitude of puppies raised by local breeders, also known as puppy mills. Foster said he thinks this is a way for the HSUS to regulate a much more lucrative industry in the show-me-state. “These people are wolves in sheeps clothing,” Foster said, “and they’re after Missouri's meat industry."
Foster said HSUS-backed legislation already “desecrated” industries like the pork industry in Florida and chicken industry in California. Barbara Schmitz, campaign manager for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs said, “this is a problem in Missouri and has been for decades. This is a common sense measure.”
Schmitz said the wording of current puppy mill legislation is, “pretty weak and riddled with loopholes,” and she said the proposition is truly worded just for puppies.
But it’s the wording of the possible new legislation that has people like Foster worried the most. “There is a line in the legislation that everyone should pay close attention to,” said Foster, “and that is line number eight.”
Line number eight of the proposition defines a pet as “any domesticated animal normally maintained in or near the household of the owner thereof.”Rusty Middlebrooks runs Happy Haven Farm in Salisbury, he said as a member of community of farmers and keeper of animals himself, he only wants one thing, "leave rural families out of it," said Middlebrooks.
As Foster said, it’s not uncommon for folks in rural areas to keep cattle animals close to their homes, “[my associate and I] can look outside our doors and see our cattle.” Foster says the best way to help animals in need is to give direct donations of time, supplies, and/or money to local humane societies.
Take a look at Rusty Middlebrooks Happy Haven: