Animal Shelters May Be Getting A Break -- But Breeders Won't.

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JEFFERSON CITY- Missouri animal shelters will be exempt from state licensing fees if a House bill is adopted by the State Senate and signed by the governor.

Along with the license exemption for animal shelter, the legislation will also reduce the maximum fees that commercial breeders pay to the Missouri Department of Agriculture. This is a change from a law approved in 2010 that took away exemptions for shelters. The old law increased the license fee for shelters, commercial breeders and kennels from a maximum of $500 up to $2,500. 

Representative T.J. Berry, R- Kearney, a co-sponsor of the bill, believes the bill is the next best step for animal safety, after the controversial Proposition B bill was approved to establish puppy mill guidelines. 

However, Representative Casey Guersney, R-Trenton, believes the bill needed to define exactly what a shelter is before he approved it.

"There is no line between the good guys and the bad guys," Guersney said. "The law does not outline what a shelter is, which makes it easy for some to identify as a shelter without actually being one."

The Central Missouri Humane Society Shelter Relations Coordinator Colin LaVaute said the money saved will go to good use.

"The money that we usually use on licenses can now go toward the most important thing- helping our furry friends," LaVaute said. "$2500 dollars, the money we won't be spending on a license, can pay for 4,000 pounds of food."

The bill, if passed by the senate and signed by Gov. Jay Nixon, will take effect in 2014.