July 25, 2011

Director of Agriculture Files New Animal Care Rules with Secretary of State

Missouri Solution rules include provisions on space, water, vet care and outdoor access

Missouri Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler has filed new rules for the care of dogs at breeding facilities as prescribed earlier this year in Senate Bill 161, also known as the Missouri Solution. Draft permanent rules were filed Friday with the Missouri Secretary of State's Office and are available for public comment. In addition, temporary rules have been submitted to the Secretary of State's Office to comply with the new law and will remain in effect for 180 days.

"This represents a significant step forward in providing our responsible breeders, shelters, rescue groups and other animal care facilities clear guidelines as we move forward under the Missouri Solution," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "We take our role in animal welfare very seriously, and these rules are an integral part of ensuring a high-quality breeding industry in Missouri."

Changes to the rules include requirements to provide continuous access to potable water, an annual examination by a licensed veterinarian and a documented plan of care for any necessary medical treatment. The rules also ban wire strand flooring in all new construction immediately and set out the larger space regulations required by the law.

According to the Missouri Solution law, Missouri dog breeders with existing facilities must be in compliance with the new veterinary standards and double the size of their enclosures by Jan. 1, 2012. The rules filed with the Secretary of State also require all newly constructed facilities and all facilities after 2016, to meet additional size requirements and construction standards.

Under the leadership of Gov. Jay Nixon and Dr. Hagler, the Missouri Department of Agriculture's animal care program has rescued more than 5,100 dogs from substandard conditions over the past two years. This year, a $1.1 million budget recommendation from Gov. Nixon was approved by the Missouri General Assembly. The animal care program has already added two new inspectors and a veterinarian.

For more information on the rules and to provide public comment, visit the Missouri Secretary of State's Office online at http://www.sos.mo.gov. For more information about the animal care program, visit http://www.mda.mo.gov.