Lawmaker could benefit from Prop. B repeal
Thu, 24 Feb 2011 03:25:01 GMT —
The Missouri Humane Society calls them the dirty dozen. They're 12 of the worst licensed breeding facilities in Missouri, and one of them is owned by the family of a prominent Missouri lawmaker.
H e is Assistant House Deputy Whip Jason Smith.
T he Republican has been an outspoken critic of Proposition B and is leading a fight to repeal it.
H is mother, Mary Ann Smith, owns a breeding facility just outside of Salem, Missouri.
D ocuments from USDA inspection reports paint a horrifying picture of the Smith kennel.
V iolations stretch back nearly a decade including pest and rodent infestations, unsanitary conditions, and reports of not enough cage space.
T hese reports have prompted Prop. B supporters to question whether Smith should recuse himself from House Hearings on Prop. B.
S tate Director of the Missouri Humane Society Barb Schmitz said, "I would say that it probably is a conflict of interest and so I think it would be a good idea for him to perhaps step back just a little bit".
W e asked Smith about those concerns. In a phone interview with KRCG and during an on camera interview with KTVI, Smith reiterated the same point, saying, "It's no different than you know the chairman of the education committee being a retired teacher who also looks after retirement funds that are a direct financial gain for them..."
S mith says he doesn't want to get rid of prop b completely. He just wants to make adjustments like the number of breeding dogs a kennel can have. According to the Humane Society, and their dirty dozen list, the average number of adult breeding dogs at each of the kennels averages 134. If Prop. B was enforced, it would be limited to 50 breeding dogs."
D enise Edgar is a Prop. B supporter, she said, "What's most important here is disclosure so we have a clear idea of what type of facility and what's going on there and he has the opportunity as everybody has the opportunity to come into compliance with Prop B so the puppies are actually protected."
T he house is working on a bill that would take away Prop B's 50 dog limit and get rid of large pin requirements and replace them with two-foot by two-foot cages.
A s for Smith, he says he will continue to represent his district, which he says is against Prop. B.