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Tea Partiers barking mad over puppy-mill humane measure in Missouri

Pomeranians

The state of Missouri is known throughout the humane community as "puppy mill central," a state which by some reckonings is home to nearly a third of the nation's wretched breeding factories that churn out litter after litter of puppies that can be high-priced and sometimes less than healthy, from mothers that are kept like brood sows and wind up exhausted and ailing after delivering endless litters -- I know; I've adopted one or two of such poor exploited ladies.

Dog-loving groups have been hopeful that Missouri's Prop. B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, would help to put a stop to some of this, by requiring commercial breeders with more than 10 breeding females who produce puppies for the pet trade give those dogs clean facilities, enough food and water and exercise, and what I would call decent intervals between pregnancies.

Simple, right?

Well, not according to some. As reported on Talking Points Memo, Tea Partiers are claiming that this is a manifestation of the Humane Society's sinister plan. Some, including people who either can't read or won't read -- to paraphrase Mark Twain, the latter has the same disadvantage as the former -- are applying Tea Party politics to this, declaring that the Missouri measure saving animals from misery and exploitation is part of a "radical" agenda.

The group calls itself the Alliance for Truth -- don't you love the grandiose labels these groups bestow on themselves? -- and one member, astonishingly, told the TPM site that Prop. B supporters "don't like animals."

Now, let's figure this one out. Who doesn't like animals? The Humane Society, with a decades-long track record of trying to give animals healthy and safe living conditions, or the people who seized on this, either with deliberate, cynical political intent or by a misreading of the law, to cast Prop. B as another effort by traitors and socialists to destroy the American way of life, which way of life also evidently includes the right to destroying animals' lives and health if that's what some red-blooded real American wants to do. What does the Alliance for Truth think about dog fighting? Maybe Michael Vick can show up at the next rally, so long as it doesn't interfere with his NFL schedule.

JoeThePlumber Overlaying the tragicomedy of this is the involvement of not-Joe-and-not-a-registered-Plumber, the supposed Everyman of the John McCain presidential campaign. Here's what he wrote: that the Humane Society is "cowardly [sic] hiding behind animal cruelty, lying to our citizens and taking our constitutional rights away -- one state at a time."

Today, humane conditions in puppy mills -- tomorrow, ending states' rights!

Come on, 'fess up, Comedy Central -- did you sneak a plant into Missouri and start up this group just to gin up good material for your writers?

Another of this group's contentions is that the Humane Society's real goal is "making it more difficult for middle-class American families to be dog owners."

Do I laugh or cry at that one, or both? Humane organizations would love for every middle-class American family to be a dog owner, and there's a really easy way, a cheap way, to make that happen -- without having to pay the hundreds or even thousands of dollars that puppy mills can charge per pet.

Millions of American-born dogs are waiting for you -- to live with your middle-class American family -- in shelters and with rescue groups all across America. There's just about any breed you want, any age, either gender, and all the all-American mutts you could hope for. None of your fancy hundreds or thousands-of-dollar price tags, either. Most shelters, you can walk out with the canine of your dreams for a hundred bucks or so, sometimes less.

In as you folks in the Show-Me State know, that's a demonstrable bargain.

RELATED PUPPY MILL STORIES:
Pennsylvania's Main Line Animal Rescue takes on puppy mills, one dog at a time
A tale of two litters

-- Patt Morrison

Top photo: Pomeranian puppies that were rescued from an alleged puppy mill operation in Dana Point, Calif. Credit: Marc Martin / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: Samuel Wurzelbacher, also known as Joe the Plumber, speaks during a "tax day tea party" protest in 2009. Credit: Al Goldis / Associated Press

 
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Grammar correction: "cowardly [sic] hiding behind animal cruelty" seems OK (no "sic" required). There is no misplaced modifier if the is meaning is clear. Nobody ever "cowardly stood in front of" anything, nor "bravely hid behind" it. And "hiding cowardly behind" actually sounds awkward, even if it is more precise. "Running closely behind" is perfectly natural sounding. Cowardly can modify "hiding behind animal cruelty" or "behind animal cruelty" without changing the meaning. Conversely, "just hiding behind his money" is far different from "hiding just behind his [stack of] money."

 
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