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AKC Editorial on Missouri's Proposition B

(Friday, October 29, 2010)

Previously published in the Kansas City Star

There are two issues on which every dog lover agree. First, dogs deserve a life in a safe, caring, and healthy environment. Second, those who treat dogs in a negligent or cruel manner should be held accountable.

The American Kennel Club is the nation’s only not-for-profit organization dedicated to the study, responsible breeding and advancement of purebred dogs. We demonstrate our commitment to responsible dog ownership and breeding by donating millions of dollars each year to canine health research, rescue, disaster relief and other programs that benefit all dogs.

The AKC takes a strong line on negligence or cruelty to dogs. We inspect thousands of kennels each year to ensure that people who register litters with us raise their dogs in a humane manner. Anyone who is convicted of cruelty automatically loses all AKC privileges.

So why is the AKC opposing Proposition B? Because the welfare of dogs is more than just a numbers game. Proposition B limits the number of dogs a person may own and confuses the real issue of animal welfare–the quality of care given to animals – with the number of dogs a person may own.

Many of the new standards are confusing, arbitrary, and do absolutely nothing to improve the wellbeing of animals. Instead, they would add excessive expenses to responsible breeders who strive to produce well-bred family pets. Missouri currently has laws that protect dogs. The solution to dog breeding issues in Missouri isn’t more laws–it’s enforcing what’s already on the books.

Responsible breeders cannot be defined by the number of dogs kept, or even whether they make a profit in selling dogs. Responsible breeders are characterized by the quality of care and conditions that they provide their dogs and the quality (health, temperament and breed type) of the puppies they produce.

Unfortunately, cruelty and negligence can occur regardless of the number of dogs a person dogs someone owns. Arbitrarily limiting the number of dogs a person can own does nothing to improve the wellbeing of dogs.

If Proposition B passes, responsible, law-abiding breeders who own more than 50 dogs will be forced to get rid of dogs in order to come into compliance. Some will be driven out of business. Many of their dogs will end up housed or euthanized at local shelters at taxpayers’ expense. And the problem kennels–those already violating Missouri’s negligence and cruelty laws–will thrive because we’ve taken away their competition.

Proposition B is arbitrary, expensive, difficult to enforce –and it hurts responsible breeders.

The American Kennel Club urges you to vote NO on Proposition B.

Sheila Goffe
Director of Government Relations
The American Kennel Club

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