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Tea Partiers for Puppy Mills?
Joe The Plumber fights reform
Lorenzo Carcaterra, with his dog Gus, urges Missourians to support MO House Bill 1921.

The Tea Party has finally crossed the line from an annoying fringe group who back incompetents for high office to one that can only be labeled insane. Here is all the proof you need: On October 5, a conservative outfit calling themselves the Alliance For Truth and led to the charge by the infamous Joe “The Plumber” (a remnant from the McCain campaign, whose name is not Joe nor is he a plumber, still plunging the remaining seconds of his 15-minute fame ride) picked up the backing of the Tea Party as they sought to prevent … wait for it … The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) from passing what they consider “radical anti-puppy mill legislation.”


You read that right. The Tea Party backs puppy mills. With passage of the bill—“Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act”—the HSUS will eliminate as many as 3,000 puppy mills in the state of Missouri, a state that contains 30 percent of all the mills in America.


Now, if you’re even remotely close to a sane person, you would applaud this bill instead of putting on your spiffy Revolutionary War outfit and look to block its passage. And even if you had doubts as to whether the bill makes any sense at all, those would evaporate like morning mist soon as you heard the words of Michael Markarian, chief operating officer of the HSUS. “The measure would provide common sense standards for care of dogs,” he said in a recent Talking Points Memo article. “That includes sufficient food and clean water, vet care, regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles.” The measure, he concluded, would only apply to “commercial dog breeding facilities that have more than 10 breeding females used for producing puppies for the pet trade.”


Seems like something we ought to be doing. If you’ve ever seen a puppy mill you would not even hesitate to put your stamp of approval on such a bill. So, what could possibly have the intellectual elites of the Alliance for Truth so agitated about this measure? Are you ready? Joe the fake-Plumper says that HSUS is “cowardly hiding behind animal cruelty, lying to our citizens and taking our constitutional rights away, one state at a time.”


Anita Andrews of the Alliance for Truth goes so far as to claim that the HSUS “don’t like animals.”


Perhaps these freedom-loving patriots should put down their muskets and get a taste of life in the real world. Puppy mills are cruel and evil places that do nothing but cause suffering and pain to dogs. The sooner we rid the country of them, the better off all pets will be. Pass the law, Missouri. Don’t waste a second listening to someone too incompetent to get a plumber’s license or a group of people with so much time on their hands that they are planning a protest march AGAINST puppies. It will be held at Coach’s Pizza World and will include members from the newly formed Mexico Tea Party. Yes, you read that last line correctly.


As the great writer George V. Higgins once said, “Life is hard. Very hard. It is harder if you go through it stupid.”


I hope Missouri ignores the rodeo clowns surrounding them and makes the bill law. It’s the smart move.


In truth, it’s the only move.


Lorenzo Carcaterra is an author and screenwriter. His newest novel, Midnight Angels, was published by Random House/ Ballantine Books in July.

Photo by Kate Carcaterra.

CommentsPost a Comment
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Submitted by Lis | October 7 2010 |

Lorenzo, have you actually read the legislation? Have you talked to actual, responsible, hobby dog breeders?

I think we can agree that the Teabaggers have no interest in allow law and regulation to interfere with business of any kind, which they hold to be sacred.

But the proposed Missouri law defines a "breeding female" as an intact female above the age of six months. No responsible breeder breeds a dog before the age of two years. Anyone who is actively competing in AKC events has to keep those dogs intact--whether or not they ever intend to breed them. And most responsible breeders who have been doing it for a few years--who are experienced, knowledgable people--will have older, retired dogs, some of whom may remain intact because medical reasons make the major surgery of spaying unwise for those particular individuals.

In the toy breeds, who take up less space, less food, less of everything except love, it's common to keep larger numbers of dogs than in the bigger breeds.

It's very easy for a responsible breeder to have ten intact females and still only have two litters a year, or less than that. In the toy breeds, that might not be even ten puppies in three or four years, all of whom had homes lined before they were born. Is that what we mean by a "commercial breeder" these days?

The proposed law also requires "unfettered access to the outside" for all dogs affected by it. This makes sense for Labs and Goldens and most medium to larger dogs. It's insane for toy breed dogs, and no, constructing a good, solid run for them doesn't solve the problem. The small breeds are at risk from many things that aren't a problem for bigger dogs.

In my urban, northeast neighborhood, we have coyotes. A few years ago, a coyote killed a thirty-pound cockapoo who had only been let out into the yard for a late-night potty in a fenced yard. Going after something as large as a thirty-pound dog is unusual for a coyote--but toy breeds are much smaller, and easy targets. The smallest dogs, yorkies and chihuahuas, are potential targets for the larger birds of prey.

No sane owner of these breeds lets them outside unsupervised. This is a well-intentioned law, but it has major problems, and despite the fact that the Tea Party opposes it for bad reasons, it's still bad law and should not be passed.

Submitted by Lis | October 7 2010 |

And here's a link to the actual legislation, which Lorenzo unaccountably failed to included:
Proposed Statute

In case the clicky doesn't work, you can cut and paste this:

Submitted by Pamela Boyd | November 17 2010 |

yahoo, the good guys won this one. Ignorance and stupidity don't stand a chance against reason and love!

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