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  An Undercover Weekend
By Betsy Cummings   “Tribute Salukis”
I got in late last nite from Springfield, MO. What is there to interest me? Well, the 18th Spring Educational Seminar and Meeting of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association. Yeah, the puppy mill folks. They prefer Professional Breeders. And after what I saw this weekend, I'm quite willing to cut them some slack.

On Friday were 4 seminars, although one was cancelled because the State Veterinarian had been bitten by a dog and the rabies vax was questionable, so the poor guy has to take the shots and wasn't feeling well. So another guy came and spoke on something else. On Saturday was Pat Hasting's Puppy Puzzle Seminar - which was
FREE. To anybody. How many have paid $150 or more to a kennel club to see this seminar?

I'm now going to propose a view-point that I know full well isn't going
to be popular, nor is it going to win me friends. Many of you will scoff and criticize. It's ingrained in "us" to do so. Say the words Puppy Mill, or Commercial Breeder and most of us have a knee jerk reaction of total horror. We picture "bubba's" on Walmart parking lots and highway corners selling puppies to anybody who comes along. Not
that that doesn't happen. However, those folks tend to be wannabe's and illegal puppy mills. There were only a few people there I'd call
"Bubba's" this weekend. MOST of the people were people just like you and me. You couldn't have told by dress or manner what these folks did for a living. Most even spoke "educated beyond the 1st grade" english. And it was obvious from the gal with the poodle dyed pink to the gal who came in with a sheltie she'd rescued off an 8 lane highway and wanted her put somewhere safe, that these folks live and breathe DOGS. In that respect, they aren't that much different from you and me.

Friday's program included one that has me shaking my head and asking
where "we" ("we" being the show dog fancy) are. The MPBA has no less than 3 professional lobbyists. One in Washington DC, and 2 in our state capital. Even more, the State Representative from Salem, MO is one of "them." These 4 folks stood before a room of about 300 people and gave us a list of the legislation they've had a part in killing altogether, or getting changed to something reasonable. My question is...where the hell are WE??? If the MPBA can have THREE full time professional lobbyists...what's OUR problem??? My next question is...Why the HELL aren't we working with these people???? They know how to do it. They aren't starting from scratch. They've been working in the trenches for quite awhile. And all supported by the puppy millers! These folks are fighting for OUR rights as much as
for their own, but the end results
are the same - I can still own dogs in the state of Missouri, and they
don't have to be spayed or neutered either.

Saturday's program was Pat Hasting's seminar. It was not quite as well attended as some of the Friday seminars since it was a 'voluntary'
program. (I'll explain that in a minute.) However, the room was
probably over half full - call it 200 people give or take. She played
the angle toward "If you're breeding better dogs structurally, you make
more money." It was a good call. She went over 7 lab puppies - some
were from show bred lines, and some from a commercial kennel. She
wouldn't say which were which. And based on the strengths and faults
she found I certainly couldn't tell. One had an ewe neck which she
demonstrated by flipping that puppy's head over onto its spine -
no distress to the puppy! One had no muscling on the inside of it's legs
so when she stacked it and pushed just a teensy bit from the side the
puppy fell over. 3 had slipped hocks. One had a herring gut. The gasps
when each of these faults were demonstrated were...quite loud. And she flat out asked why they weren't breeding away from these faults - they'd make more money providing a quality, well bred dog than ones with health and structural issues. There were some good questions from the
audience, and some questions that
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