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Report: House leader has connection to dog breeding | Pets

CITY OF JEFFERSON • When the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing on a bill slashing new dog breeding rules approved by state voters, the lawmaker who led the attack on the rules was Rep. Jason Smith.

Smith, R-Salem, argued that unlicensed breeders should be targeted rather than licensed breeders. He repeatedly challenged an animal cruelty investigator and veterinarian who testified that changes were needed.

Smith’s role was unusual: he doesn’t sit on the committee but as an executive — he’s the majority whip — he can sit on any committee as an ex officio member.

It turns out that Smith had direct knowledge of the company. As announced last night on KRCG-TV (Channel 13) in Columbia, Smith is the son of Mary Ann Smith, who owns a kennel near Salem.

Additionally, this kennel was one of 12 cited by the Humane Society of the United States during last fall’s Proposition B campaign as one of the worst “puppy mills” in the state. The Humane Society labeled them “Missouri’s Dirty Dozen”.

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The Humane Society said Smith Kennel had “a history of repeated USDA violations dating back more than a decade, including citations for unsanitary conditions; dogs exposed to sub-freezing temperatures or excessive heat without adequate shelter from the weather; dogs without enough crate space to turn around and move freely; pest and rodent infestations; injured and bleeding dogs, dogs with loose and bloody stools that had not been treated by a veterinarian, and much more.”

Smith could not immediately be reached for comment. But based on the most recent inspection by the Missouri Department of Agriculture in October 2010, the issues have been corrected. The only violation cited was the lack of smoke or heat detection devices or properly maintained fire extinguishers.

The state said the kennel has 92 adult dogs and 21 young dogs, for a total of 113. Proposal B would limit breeders to a maximum of 50 breeding dogs.

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