Puppy Mills Top Discussion at State Rep. John Diehl's Town Hall Meeting

Despite new districts just being drawn in the St. Louis area, puppy mills dominated the dialogue as State Rep. John Diehl talked to constituents Thursday night.

Missouri State Rep. John Diehl, R-Town and Country, held a town hall meeting at the Brentwood Recreation Center Thursday night.

The Republican represents Missouri’s 87th district in the State House of Representatives. The district includes Town and Country, Brentwood, Frontenac, Ladue, Rock Hill, Crystal Lake Park and Webster Groves, among other municipalities.

With all of the changes to St. Louis area congressional districts taking place, one might think that redistricting would dominate the meeting. However, the subject matter of the town hall was largely decided by his constituents and they wanted to discuss puppy mills.

The meeting lasted about one hour and 20 minutes. Roughly half that time was dedicated to a back and forth between Diehl and supporters of and dog-breeding reform.

In November, voters narrowly passed the Puppy Mill Cruelty Act, otherwise known as Prop B. It sought to toughen regulations on dog breeders, whose operations are often referred to as puppy mills, in Missouri. Since November, however, representatives from rural parts of the state have backed Special Bill 113, a bill that would change the Prop B legislation and, according to some, water it down.

Diehl was largely in agreement with those in attendance, and said he supported more regulation of dog-breeding operations. However, Diehl said that SB 113 “is going to pass,” and he wasn’t sure if Governor Jay Nixon would veto it. Ladue resident Nancy Grove said Diehl should vote against SB 113 outright. However, Diehl stated that he felt he could do more by negotiating and finding some middle ground between Prop B and SB 113.

Others in the crowd also voiced their disdain for SB 113, not so much out of a love for animals, but out of a distaste for seeing the government in Jefferson City not abiding by something that was voted on by the people and passed.

One Brentwood resident, who wished to not be named, said he felt SB 113 was like a dictator overruling the will of the people. “That’s what it feels like to me,” he said. “It’s very offensive.”

“Why bother to carry these petitions? Why bother to vote?” Margot Martin, Frontenac resident, asked.

Many in crowd wore buttons that read, “Defend Prop B For Dog’s Sake.” Others wore T-shirts saying things like “Stop puppy mills.”

“I now have my second puppy mill rescue dog,” Crystal Lake Park resident Helena Servis said. “I’m here to tell you it’s a travesty how we procure our animals.” Servis said she is not usually politically active, but Prop B is different.

Though Prop B and SB 113 dominated the meeting, other issues were addressed.

Brentwood Ward 3 Alderman Andrew Leahy voiced a concern over the new four-year term for elected officials in fourth-class Missouri cities, though fourth-class cities now have no way to recall elected officials. Leahy brought this up to Diehl because he said changing that law would require a change in a state statute.

Diehl said he supports the ability of cities like Brentwood to hold officials responsible and would look into the matter.

Leahy also asked about Diehl’s views on proposed changes to in St. Louis County that would allow municipalities with a large amount of retail to keep more of their own sales tax.

“I don’t support any of those changes,” Diehl said, though he said it is a valid discussion. “I don’t think it’s going anywhere this year, but it could be part of  larger discussion.”

Rock Hill resident and teacher Amy Doyle asked a question about any forthcoming changes to tenure and merit-based pay for public school teachers.

“I would be really surprised if we get any education bills out of the house this year,” Diehl said in response.

Former Town and Country Alderwoman Barbara Ann Hughes brought up the topic of the . Hughes said she is “anti-kill” and believes that sterilization is much more effective.

“I’ll leave that to the City of Town and Country,” Diehl told Patch after the meeting. “They have my applause for addressing the issue, and I respect the decision of the aldermen and the mayor, and they can do without interference from us.”

Diehl brought with him a large map of Missouri that showed the new districts proposed by house Republicans and passed by the house as whole. Diehl chaired a Congressional redistricting committee, tasked with reducing  Missouri’s nine  congressional districts into eight.

“All the districts have to get much, much larger,” Diehl said. “Ten years ago, the average size of the districts was 621,000 people. The districts we are drawing today are 750,000 people...From a state rep stand point, I have about 36,000 (constituents), so I can’t even imagine what 750,000 is like.”

Diehl said that the old First District and the old Third District lost the greatest amount of population statewide. Diehl said that all of St. Louis city will now be in the new First District along with parts of North County and the new Second District will comprise the rest of St. Louis County, as well as chunks of St. Charles and Jefferson County.

Though many in the room spoke passionately, only at one point did any tempers come close to flaring. 

Many in the crowd responded with jeers when a man who would only identify himself as John from Des Peres said that he felt all the talk about Prop B was “unimportant and a distraction...a waste of time.”

Even those who criticized Diehl the loudest during the meeting still chatted with the representative amicably afterward, with both parties thanking each other for their time.

Shelley Powers April 08, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Bunk, pure and simple. The only reason why SB 113 would pass is if reps from districts who voted for Prop B go against the wishes of the people in their district. And the time to "make changes" or "have a compromise" on SB 113 is past -- they perfected the bill in the House. Diehl has made no attempt at compromise. But no one wants to say no to the powerful agribusiness lobby. This is literally representatives giving into special interests in defiance to the people of their district, and this state. It's pure politics of the worst kind.
Shelley Powers April 08, 2011 at 12:35 PM
Representative Diehl's district voted for Proposition B by 61.4%. He's going against a significant majority of people in his district. Such disdain for the voters should be repaid in kind in the next election.
Terry Ward April 08, 2011 at 01:15 PM
Got a strong stomach? Watch this 'illegal ' video of Missouri breeders auctioning off America's pets... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBDUeShAnIs "Show Me" WHAT, Missouri? Cruelty? Abuse? Inhumanity? Greed? All of the above.
Terry Ward April 08, 2011 at 01:48 PM
Ask Bonnie Jensen why she loves puppymills. Bonnie must have "blinders" on... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBI4ZRNifgY&p=48CBCC6EF6CDF71E http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGiMC0STKlY&feature=relmfu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWQGYyRgImo&feature=relmfu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwKTsUTIgSw&feature=relmfu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1x0a_L2v_Y&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr-ux_Ejke4&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1demtWIlF4&feature=related
Terry Ward April 08, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Every day the reputation of Missouri breeders drops deeper down the toilet. You criminals be able to gut Prop B but you will NEVER reverse public opinion. Wanna see ? You can rant and accuse and excuse but you cannot HIDE. http://www.idausa.org/campaigns/puppy/investigations.html http://www.usda.gov./oig/webdocs/33002-4-SF.pdf http://www.nowisconsinpuppymills.com/what-to-do.html http://www.prisonersofgreed.org/Commercial-kennel-facts.html http://www.youtube.com/user/remix227#p/u/9/9g6G_75Eipk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57wJ4kWwbd0&feature=related
Terry Ward April 08, 2011 at 02:11 PM
Jon Hagler's big DUH moment in 2009. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wTsbTHyLio The DUH heard round the world. "Show Me" the knuckleheads.
Terry Ward April 08, 2011 at 02:44 PM
Oct. 11, 2010
 How's that workin' for ya'. Bonnie? How much money has Humanewatch spent on their HSUS smear campaign, Bonnie? How many times did your Humanewatch peanut-heads repeat lies about HSUS and Katrina? http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/about/wsb_letter_re_berman.pdf How long did the Humanewatch bobble-heads worship at the Altar Of Martosko before he was outed for his egregious and indefensible behavior? http://www.aboutdavidmartosko.com/david_martosko_rap_sheet.pdf You folks got a lot of splainin' to do.
bonnie jensen April 08, 2011 at 03:06 PM
How's that workin for you Terry Ward, to bad you can't really figure out who I am or what I do huh? Just bugs the hell out of ya don't it?? I don't have any idea how much Humane Watch spends on any of their campaigns, Terry, but I can tell you how much H$U$ spends on all their misleading campaigns, to bad they aren't going to be able to use under cover videos anymore huh? That must be one of the things that has to tick you off huh??!! Oh well they must pay you pretty good to, with all their contributions they rake in with all their misleading advertisement also. I hate to break this news to you but, there really is a lot of people that treat their animals a lot better than what Children get treated, now that is a shame. Just keep up the good work trying to get everyone to believe all of your (information) or what ever ya want to call it. I already know what kind of crooks seem to be paying your salary..
Terry Ward April 08, 2011 at 03:34 PM
We couldn't care less who you are or what you do or where you live. We do care what you say when you perpetuate lies which contribute to animal abuse. And we would be most interested in knowing how you "know" who pays our "salary". Is this typical of everything else you 'know'?
no April 09, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Bonnie, um "ya" to you too.... you are a miller, probably with a PO Box so we can't see the abuse and cruelty that goes on behind your ugly walls. Only the millers fear this law as their truths will be shown. Every state in our country has to pay the price for the dogs Missouri produces. The pet stores are selling sick and dying dogs from your state and all the innocent consumers suffer for the money everyone involved has made. So it really doesn't matter where the people speaking up are from. If you were a reputable breeder, you would have no problem with the law. The more you millers speak and write, the more your ignorance is shown. Go back to school and learn how to spell and get a real job.
no April 09, 2011 at 12:04 AM
Oh, sorry Bonnie, I didn't use too many big words for "ya" did I?
Terry Ward April 09, 2011 at 02:42 AM
Local 8-Year-Old Girl Teaches Kids About Puppy Mills April 08, 2011 http://www2.nbc4i.com/news/2011/apr/08/3/local-8-year-old-girl-teaches-kids-about-puppy-mil-ar-447833/ OMG, an 8yr. old RADICAL!!!! And a terrorist, according to Rep. (brain surgeon) Jeanie Riddle Let's hope the humanewatchers don't get ahold of this child and try to exorcise out Wayne..
bonnie jensen April 09, 2011 at 03:00 AM
I am not a (puppy miller) if I did raise dogs, I am sure I would be one of the Commercial Breeders that do take care of their dogs, they are not all puppy mills, but since you are not understanding the difference, there is no sence in waisting my time on you. I hope you find a real job soon also, I sure wouldn't want to work for The Humane Society of The United States, talk about misleading and robbing people of money with their contributions, what a misleading little business they have!! But everyone is starting to figure them out, and I will do everything I can to help !!
Terry Ward April 09, 2011 at 03:07 AM
Everybody has already figured them out. http://www.agrimarketing.com/show_story.php?id=63105 SURVEY: TWICE AS MANY CONSUMERS BELIEVE HSUS, PETA ON ANIMAL WELFARE THAN FARM ORGANIZATIONS
Oct. 11, 2010


New research from the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) shows that most consumers are twice as likely to believe the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) over farm organizations when it comes to humane treatment of farm animals. 
After HSUS and PETA, farm animal veterinarians, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and university experts ranked next, followed by state and national farm organizations and small livestock farmers. Large-scale livestock farmers ranked last in animal welfare credibility. 
Ruth Keezer April 11, 2011 at 02:09 PM
Terry Ward, just because most people are still being misled and duped by HSUS/PETA does not mean those people are right. It just means that the public needs to become more educated about HSUS/PETA and understand what those organizations really are.
Ruth Keezer April 11, 2011 at 02:20 PM
I think that by now, most representatives realize what Prop B was, and what it would do to the legitimate dog breeding industry and associated businesses. Some, of course, will support their constituents vote regardless (even though they KNOW their voters didn't realize what would they were voting on). The honest representatives will do what is best for the state of Missouri....for its citizens AND for the dogs, which is to support SB 113 and 95. By the way, I don't think the bill is perfected in the House, at this point.
Terry Ward April 11, 2011 at 02:23 PM
Hear that folks? Ruth Keezer thinks the majority of Americans are STUPID. Insulting or what... http://www.prwatch.org/node/8894 http://humanewatch.info/ http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/politics&id=4140447 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i75WwystZo
Dawn Walker April 14, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Yes, Terry, thanks so much for posting these links. I would like to know how I can get ahold of the wonderful folks at "BestFriendsVideos" who shot my home in some of their kennel footage and have managed to associate me with all of this. I have received letters and everything from people who think dogs are more important than people. All I do is have a home near a kennel and thanks to people like you, I am accosted. I tried their website link posted on the videos...surprisingly enough that is no good. So thanks in their attempt to "better" life for a dog, they have made mine harder. Super people. I would be proud if I were you guys.
Terry Ward April 14, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Dawn Walker????? Puuuleeze. Who exactly is going to buy your idiot story? Try harder, noodlehead. People are not that stupid.
Dawn Walker April 14, 2011 at 03:36 PM
The people who watch the video. You didn't post it. And "Dawn Walker?????" Is it complicated? It's for CJs Happy Tails, I believe. It's a kennel, but that's MY HOME. I'm not much for name calling, seeing as how it makes people appear to others, but I have my rights just to raise a family and be left alone. So why doesn't the website work? Why can't I contact these people if they are so helpful?
Dawn Walker April 14, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Nevermind, Terry, don't bother responding. I should have known I was wasting my time trying to seek help. I assumed that people who take the time to read articles and comment so in depth were more educated on their sources, but alas, all I got was lame name calling and bs. Thanks for your time, I'm sure it's valuable.
Terry Ward April 14, 2011 at 05:58 PM
It is not possible to make any sense of your posts. What EXACTLY is your problem? Do you have a legitimate grievance? If you state it clearly without the commentary, and you have actually been wronged, I am certain that many people will try to assist, regardless of their position on any issue. As it stands, your anti-hsus rant labels you a troll. Those videos have NOTHING to do with the hsus. So, please, what is the problem?
Dawn Walker April 14, 2011 at 06:37 PM
My problem is they shoot my home in a video with a kennel, and some misguided person or several have begun to send me letters stating what a horrible person I am et cetera. I assume it is some lone extremist with nothing to do but harrass an innocent person. I'd never noticed it until I received letters commenting on MY kennel on YouTube. I don't own a kennel, but I am reaping the benefits of haters. I don't care what people post if it doesn't affect me or the safety of others. I feel this did. No one elses home are showed in these...just kennels. Wouldn't you feel unfairly targeted? I chose YOU because your comment history lead me to believe you know something about them. And I state HSUS because this proud and anonymous sender sites them constantly.
Terry Ward April 14, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Ah, Dawn Walker EMINGER. You should have said so. Doesn't look like much place to "raise a family", but of course that is your affair. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy2lmiB6wEA " All our videos are obtained legally from public property without tresspassing, so what you see in the video is the same as you would see if you drove by on the road." (BestFriendsVideos)
Terry Ward April 14, 2011 at 06:46 PM
There are 'misguided' idiots everywhere. NO ONE that we know or want to know would send anonymous letters to anyone, regardless of the reason. The video says it all, as far as we are concerned. If you are going to live 'by the sword', though, you must expect swords in return. We personally do not believe in this, but unfortunately many people do.
Dawn Walker April 14, 2011 at 07:15 PM
Neither do I and reaffirm DAWN, not Janice. You can see her house, my issue is everyone is entitled to their opinions. It's life. I am not arguing kennels, prop B, nothing. I am wanting my home cut out of her video. That was it.
Dawn Walker April 14, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Wow, this is enough, "obtained legally" doesn't make a post legal. I was unaware of this video until mail started arriving. My issue isn't with the video as a whole, but the first 30 seconds, where I become affected. I don't post with my maiden name because it is no longer mine, and small minded people assume I have a hidden agenda. I can clear that up for you, I led you to the video you posted, didn't I? After rereading all of this, I noticed you NEVER directly answer a question, you respond with name calling or some unclever quip. I don't state partial or full quotes I don't believe in, but now some of your posts make sense to me. Maybe you don't believe in the other things you post either? 'By the sword' makes no point since, I don't raise dogs. That would be like if I said your ancestors owned slaves, you must be racist. Really, a troll? I haven't made a true attempt to provoke anyone, I don't scan the web on this topic, I'm not trying to sway opinions, or take sides, and I have posted no where else. If you like quotes, try this one, "that's the pot calling the kettle black." I was unaware of your internet background when I found this article on my wall. I have also researched you since this morning, and you want to refer to me as a troll. I find you amusing now if nothing else. I can see that you don't know of your true sources or that you are hiding them, thank goodness somebody’s privacy is protected.
Dawn Walker April 14, 2011 at 08:27 PM
I will seek help elsewhere from this point on. Thanks for nothing. God help the people who deal with you and your rhetoric on a regular basis.
Terry Ward April 14, 2011 at 09:32 PM
If this is not you, I will apologize. Possibly it is a coincidence .........someone with the same name living in he same place. http://www.facebook.com/people/Dawn-Eminger-Walker/838294971 This person has the same name and lives in the same place as the puppy-mill. I was actually trying to help. If it is not you, what can anyone do? If your home is in the video and you are not connected with the kennel, why not write a polite letter to Best Friends and ask if they can either edit or remove the video. Send them copies of the annoying letters. I am not connected with them but I am certain they are reasonable people.
Joyce Koeller April 19, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Representative Deihl did not support the vote of the majority of the people in his district. This is not the way our democracy is suppose to work. Please remember this when you vote in the next election for House Representive. Plus, anyone with a conscience should want to improve or abolish puppy mills. Congratulations to Senator Lamping for voting against SB 113.


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