Saturday, October 23, 2010

Do the right thing, Missouri!

- Do the right thing, Missouri!
- Going green segment: Solar power!

Transcript of this week's episode of The Web-DVM:

Welcome back my friends to The Web-DVM. I am your host, Dr. Roger Welton, practicing veterinarian and Veterinary News Network Reporter. Solar energy will be my going green topic later in the broadcast, but first, let us discuss a very important ballot measure up for vote in Missouri next month.

Before we get into the specifics of the legislation up for vote in November, let me first provide you with a little background about Missouri and the abysmal puppy mill industry. For as long as I can remember working in the veterinary industry, as far back as my days as an 18 year old kennel boy, Missouri has been a safe harbor state for some of the most cruel and detestable puppy mill operations, due to their self imposed lack of oversight and the willingness of their politicians and citizens to look the other way in the face of the cruel reality of puppy mills. Considering that they lead the US by far in the number of large scale dog breeding operations with over 3000, their stance on puppy mill abuse has long been abhorred by most in the veterinary industry. Specifically, many of these puppy mill operations subject the breeding females to repeated litters of puppies without rest for their entire lives, they deny breeding animals access to regular exercise and basic veterinary care, and provide them with the minimal nutrition necessary to keep pumping out litters to feed the pockets of the owners. As a result, many breeding animals have musculoskeletal deformities brought on by malnutrition and never stepping outside of a cage. Not caring to engage in responsible breeding, many puppy mills have no problem inbreeding, a practice that saves the puppy mill owner money since he/she does not have to seek out or purchase other non-related breeding animals, but one that leads to skittish and aggressive temperaments and a high incidence of congenital disease in the puppies.

The story is always the same. A na├»ve or ill-informed pet owner that made the mistake of purchasing a puppy from a pet store, the biggest patrons of puppy mills, brings the puppy in to be checked out. I warn the pet owner that pet store bought puppies support an abysmal industry, but also such puppy mill puppies also carry a high likelihood of developing any number of inherited diseases as the result of rampant inbreeding in the industry. The owner who either did not know about this or was talked out of their concern by a good salesmen informs me that I need not worry, that this pet store only buys from breeders. To this, my question is always the same, “Does that breeder happen to be based in Missouri?” The astonished owner then says, “How did you know that?”

Folks the reason I know that, is because almost ALL pet stores purchase from puppy mills in Missouri. It is a safe haven for puppy mills, so they remain the puppy mill capital of the country!

Finally, some measure of regulation has come forward as a ballot measure known as the Puppy Mill Act, or simply as Prop B. In this law, large scale canine or feline breeding operations will be limited to 50 breeding animals. All animals must be allowed access to daily exercise, be provided adequate nutrition and regular wellness veterinary care, and submit to regular inspections to ensure compliance. Folks, these premises to me are all no brainers! Providing exercise, health care and decent food for animals should be a given. In my estimation this law falls quite short in further defining what is considered reasonable health care, exercise, and nutrition, and does nothing to combat inbreeding. But, it is a start. In a state where puppy mill cruelty is the status quo, perhaps passing such a law will create better awareness among citizens of Missouri of the real problem of puppy mills in their state, create a culture of greater compassion, and lead down a road to more comprehensive puppy mill reform in the future.

Amazingly, the passage of this law is facing a strong opposition to its passing led of course by the party that can always be counted on to side with profits at all costs, and oppose any legislation that has compassion at its core, the Republican Party. Yes, the GOP of Missouri argues that regulating puppy mills is just another big government move on business, that this really is a secret agenda of animal rights activists to pave the way for livestock regulation that will hurt the bottom line of farmers. That is such a load of crap I can smell it all the way here in Florida. From the party of no that opposed healthcare reform of any kind, Wall Street Reform, and even opposed the BP escrow fund for timely payout to oil spill victims, I am not surprised.

But Missouri likes these clowns for some reason, a red state to the core, even went for Bush-Cheney the second time for crying out loud. And make no mistake no mistake, I am not asking you to change you mind – go ahead and vote GOP until you are red in the face. But on this one measure, find it in your hearts to vote against their rhetoric and instead for what it most humane. Take the first step in no longer being a safe haven for puppy mill pushers, and prove to the rest of the country that Missouri is not the cruelty capitol of the nation.

For my going green segment tonight, I am showcasing solar energy. Solar energy utilizes our powerful and consistent energy source, the sun. This technology harnesses energy in the form of light photons that are absorbed from the sun via through solar modules mounted on the roof of your home. An inverter converts this absorbed solar DC power into AC electrical current that is stored in an electrical utility grid that is parceled out as the home needs electricity for its various appliances. Perhaps the coolest aspect of modern solar systems is the electrical utility meter, which measures how much electricity is produced in excess of the needs of the home, for that excess electricity will flow back into the electric utility power grid and provide you financial credits on your power bill. So not only are you pretty much eliminating your electric bill, from giving the power company back electricity generated by your solar system, you will be reducing your bill on other utilities, such as natural gas. And the best part, it is clean, renewable, green energy.

Never again will you have to feel guilty about leaving your TV and ceiling fans all the time. Like to air condition your house to the point that you can see your own breath vapor, no problem, in doing so you will no longer be gouging your electric bill, nor compounding your carbon footprint.

Okay, so what is the downside? I mean, there has got to be a reason that only a minority of Americans are utilizing this wonderful source of clean renewable power. The major obstacle to date has been cost, but this is no an insurmountable problem. Costs of solar power installation are at an all time low, with the average system costing $7800 after factoring government rebates. Most companies offer reasonable financing that does not cost more in most cases, than the electric bill would have been, and financing programs can last between 3-5 years, after which time, you will no longer have an electric bill, while significantly lessening you carbon footprint.

Another solution to reduce cost is to form homeowner’s co-ops, where a significant participation of a homeowner’s association membership provides group discount which, depending on participation, can reduce the cost of solar power installation by 15%-30%.

Thank is my show for this evening. Thank you for watching, and be sure not to miss my live radio call-in show 9PM EST at blog at, with this show, as well as its transcript is also posted along with bonus content.

Don't forget to catch my live call-in radio show Wednesdays 9PM EST. Listen via podcast live or archived here:

Special guest 10/27/2010: Ted Rheingold, creator/owner of,,, and

Blog Talk Radio

Bonus content:

Link to video reporting dog with 31 nails in its stomach:

CNN Reports: Dog Eats 31 Nails and survives.

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website


MissouriFan said...

Doc, you make a point that my state is the puppy mill capitol of the US - indisputable! But, those of us in the cities and suburbs REALLY DO care about this problem and are even more disgusted than you!!! The problem in my state is the strong farm lobby, since most puppy mills exist in rural areas, many of them farmers themselves, seeing the puppy mill as an easy means to earn extra cash. They view the breeding dogs as they view their livestock, not from a humane perspective, but from a perspective of a money producing animal and nothing more. This is s terrible view even with regard to livestock, but it is unfortunately the reality. They see this legislation as an infringement on livestock, because that is the way they see it - the breeding dogs in the puppy mill are just an extension of their livestock from their view. To help them, they turn to the party that they support, the republican party, and so you have the nonsense argument that prop B is a gateway for animal rights activists to come in and ruin Missouri's agriculture industry. A load of crap just as you said to be sure, but that is what they are saying. As a citizen of this otherwise great state, I call on all citizens of Missouri to take the first step to end this kind of cruelty happening within our borders! I am not alone, I know! People like us need to overcome the backward country bumpkins in our state and move into the new millenium!

Dr. Sara said...

Now a vet for 7 years, I too have long known the travesty that is the state of Missouri and their puppy mills being a cancer upon animal welfare. It is sad that kind of apathy exist anywhere in our country in this day and age. Sadder yet, it occurs in a state with an AVMA acreditted veterinary school!

pw1974 said...

Republicans do seem to oppose any legislation that has at it core any bit of decency or compassion, just as the Doc said. Whether its reducing pollution, reversing global warming, protecting wildlife, etc, now that I really think about it, they are always against it!

EndPuppyMills Now! said...

Every state should follow California's example ans outlaw the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores! With no demand from piece of $h!+ pet store, perhaps the state of Missouri would have to find some other depraved way to make money.

I have talked to so many people from Missouri that deflect blame from themselve and most of their citizens, that this is a rural interior problem only, that people in Missouri are generally good, blah, blah, blah. Okay, well here's the test. Put up or shut up!Let's see what Missouri is made of. Is there a few bad apples responsible for this horrible puppy mill atrocity, or is there really a culture of cruelty in that state? We will soon find out!

Me No Like Missouri said...

For it to have gone on for this long, something must be wrong with the core values of the people of that state. This is nothing new in the state of Missouri, their acceptance and turning a blind eye to puppy mills has been going on for decades upon decades! It is an ass backward state that needs to catch up with the rest of the country, and not only on this topic!

catgirl said...

Yes, there is a serious puppy mill pandemic in Missouri, has been for years, probably will be for many years to come, even if this law is passed. But, they are not the only offenders, they happen to be the worst, but this is a problem of rural America. Arkansas, Texas, Lousiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Kansas are all major puppy mill states as well. Missouri absolutely deserves the negative attention they get about this topic, but let us not forget that reforming puppy mills goes far beyond just Missouri. Wee need to keep pressure on all of the other offenders as well!

Dr. Sara said...

What do you know, had a new puppy visit today with an owner just beaming with pride over her new puggle that was so special, it had to be shipped special in from...Missouri! I immediately asked her, "Did she happen to come from a pet store?" To this she said, "Yes, Puppy's Plus in the Mall. How did you know?" This place happens to have probably the worst record of any source of dog in the entire county where I work! And for some reason, people just keep right on going there to pay a fortune for puppy mill dogs that will cost them a fortune in vet care because of all the health problems the dog will have in its lifetime.

Yes, Missouri and its tolerance for puppy mills and allowing them to keep places like Puppy's Plus in business is nothing short of disgusting! But the ignorance of the people who keep puppy mills and pet stores in business by purchasing from them is really getting old. I am just getting tired of people not doing their due diligence in asking questions and doing an ounce of research prior to bying a dog. People will check the better business bureau and visit 10 stores before commiting to buying a refrigerator, but they jump right into spending $2000 on a puppy they see in a cage at the mall!!! It is all very disheartening because, in the end, our biggest fight is against ignorance more than anything in the world. Missouri still disgusts me, though.

SolarSam said...

I own a plastics recycling business that recycles composite plastics and turns them into all kinds of products: patio furniture, garden borders, beachside boardwalks, etc. Its a very green industry and even greener now that my plant and office are powered primarily by solar. It was a bit of an investment, but within 2 1/2 years, my power savings will have covered the cost of installation and then forever more, no more power bills!!!

I convinced my board to finally take the leap from solar anfter fitting my home with solar power 3 years earlier and never looked back. Sorry everyone, but I now see everyone else paying for fossil fuel based current as suckers, just throwing money away every month, while contributing to a polluting industry. Learn from me, SUCKERS, solar is the bomb!

Thanks for spreading the word, Doc!

Go Gators said...

Solar power is great, but in this economic environment, it is tough to convince people to invest in something that they will not see return on investment for 3-5 years. The other hinderance and the main point stopping me from going solar, is that I am not convinced that my home is the final stop for me. To wait 3-5 years to get ROI on solar, I want to be darn sure that the home I put it on is the one I plan to stay in for at least 20 years or even forever. At some point this economy has to turn around, recession can;t last forever, right?? When/if that time comes in my lifetime, I would like to upgrade to a larger home for my growing family and not get screwed on the solar system when I have to leave it.

Greenman said...

I see your point Gator but really it should not be an issue. Having solar dramatically raises the worth of a home. You would likely recoup all fo the the cost of the solar system and likely more with the sale of a home. The thoguht of buying a home with no electricyt costs would be very attractive to a prospective buyer. Secondly, my understanding is that you can take your solar system with you to your new home. Granted, if it is a larger home, you would have to buy additional panels, and there is probably a relocation fee, but in the end, it is the equipment that costs som much with solar. Another way to go is to buy you solar system with the stipulation in the contract that if you move, they must move the gear to the new house free of charge. I fif that with a fancy water purification system I bought. In this economy, you would be amazed what merchants will agree to, especially a non-essential item like solar power.

Pappa Tim said...

The fact that puppy mills exist in our country just emphasizes just how ass backward we are with regard to animal welfare. We criticize the Koreans and Chinese for raising dogs and cats as livestock to be on the menu, yet we have animals kept in worse conditions indefinately in puppy mill farms in Missouri and other states that allow this to happen. At least the dogs and cats to be eaten in Asian countries that have a taste for them get the end of suffering that death brings.

Missouri and other puppy mill states should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to go on for this long. For the love of God, Missouri, not even aborder state, went to a lot of trouble to pass immigration reform, yet they don;t lift one fat ass finger to end the cruelty of puppy mills in their state! What a bunch of yahoos. If they don't pass prop B, everyone who has a compassionate bone in their body should boycott that state and hit them where it hurts, make it so that stat will be so untravelled, that they will be repealling imigration reform to at least get illegals to visit! Dumbasses!

Missouri Gettin' Better said...

MIssouriFan got it right, that there is a fundamental divide in our state. There are those of us in the cities and suburbs that take this situation very seriously and are furious about it. We also tend to vote independently and may even vote democrat rather than blindly vote for any idiot waving the GOP banner.

Then there are those in the rural interior of our state, the bumpkins that would have us live in a previous century if they could. These are the bumpkins that want prayer in school, are convinced that Presidetn Obama is a Muslim terrorist born in Kenya that is bent on communism and is coming for their guns. They get fired up about immigration reform when we are not even remotely a border state, vote for any jackass who calls himself an anti-abortion Christian (who also happens to be republican 100% of the time), and form the majority of opposition to Prop B.

This is rural America, ladies and gentlemen, and it is not unique to Missouri. In fact, we have a lot more progressive metropolitan and suburban centers than much of the midwest, including Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, all states that harbor the puppy mill problems in their own right.

Us more sensible citizenry with increasingly better dental health and far less propensity to inbreed, are increasing in number as the burbs grow, bringing culture and awareness to our less fortunate rural counterparts. That is why Prop B got on the ballot to begin with, and that is why I am confident that we will overcome the bumpkins this time around!