February 27, 2009

Missouri Department of Agriculture Announces Operation Bark Alert - a Crackdown on Unlicensed Breeders in Missouri

(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) – Today, at the Missouri Pet Breeders Association 19th Annual Spring Seminar in Springfield, the Missouri Department of Agriculture launched Operation Bark Alert – a new effort to crackdown on unlicensed pet breeding facilities and an opportunity for Missouri’s reputable breeding operations and citizens across the state to report unlicensed breeders.

“Missouri must take immediate action to address the problem of unlicensed breeders,” said Dr. Jon Hagler, director of the Department of Agriculture. “Our goal in this effort is to end up with only three categories related to pet breeding in Missouri: exceptional licensed breeders, good licensed breeders striving to become exceptional and those out of business for good.”

The Department of Agriculture is also launching an immediate review of the Animal Care Facilities Act’s internal policies and procedures and will develop a standard of practice that will be more consistent and effective. The Department is appointing an external executive review panel to assist in this process and will bring together the best among reputable breeders in the pet industry to develop a best practices guide for those wanting to start or maintain a professional operation.

“Unscrupulous actors put a dark cloud over the reputable licensed breeders in the industry. They will no longer be tolerated. Unlicensed breeders are putting our reputable licensed breeding professionals at a competitive disadvantage and putting the health and safety of animals at risk,” said Hagler. “Missouri has led the nation in licensing professional breeders and now we will lead the nation in cracking down on unlicensed breeding.”

To report unlicensed breeders, log on to www.mda.mo.gov or email BarkAlert@mda.mo.gov.