Miracle in Missouri: Gov, activists, breeders reach deal on kennel bill

Last week it looked like Proposition B, "The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act," in Missouri was dead.

Lawmakers in the puppy mill capital of the nation had scuttled the voter-approved referendum aimed at making commercial kennels - of which there are more than 1,000  - more humane.

Today Gov. Nixon announced a deal to save the major provisions of the proposition, drawing praise from animal welfare advocates, breeders and the farm lobby alike.

"The agreement that was signed today upholds the intent of the voters, protects dogs and ensures that Missouri agriculture will continue to grow," said Nixon in a statement.

Prop B was similar to Pennsylvania's 2008 dog law in that it required larger cage sizes, exercise and mandatory vet care - provisions that remain under the deal.

Gone are the requirements to limit the number of breeding dogs to no more than 50 and gives breeders more time to make changes.

Bob Baker, executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, one of the groups that signed the agreement, said it was a fair compromise.

"This new legislative effort will help restore many of the standards of care contained in Prop B and will help ensure the humane treatment of dogs confined in commercial breeding establishments," said Baker, who over the past 30 years has also helped craft kennel legislation in Pennsylvania.

Now Nixon is expected to work to get a new bill through the legislature by the May 13 deadline. 

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