The Animal Care Program regulates individuals and entities that enter dogs or cats into commerce as defined under state statute. All commercial breeders are inspected at least once a year by animal care inspectors of the ACFA program.

The Animal Care Program is staffed by 15 inspectors located throughout the state that carefully balance their schedule with routine inspections, complaints, inquiries into unlicensed facilities and educating licensees and the public on adequate care for animals. The program is located within the Division of Animal Health, and inspectors must maintain a general knowledge of all animals for other duties that are assigned.

New Legislation in 2011

In 2011, the Missouri General Assembly passed the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act and Gov. Jay Nixon signed it into law. The Act, also known as the Missouri Solution, is the result of an agreement between the Missouri Department of Agriculture, commercial dog breeding and farming interests and Missouri-based animal welfare organizations. It strengthens standards for veterinary care and living conditions for dogs in commercial breeding facilities. The Act also provides new tools for the Missouri Attorney General's Office, including the authority to file criminal charges for "canine cruelty," to seek enhanced criminal penalties for repeat offenders, and to bring civil enforcement actions and seek civil penalties for past violations of the Act.

Current Law

  • All facilities using elevated flooring must provide solid resting areas.
  • All licensed facilities are subject to enforcement provisions for violations that go uncorrected or unaddressed.
  • Animals with serious illness or injury must receive prompt treatment by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Facilities subject to the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act must provide continuous access to potable water that is not frozen.
  • New facilities and new construction subject to the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act are prohibited from the use of wire strand flooring.

2012

  • All outdoor runs in all licensed facilities must meet enhanced requirements for drainage and shade.
  • Facilities subject to the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act must meet the approximately doubled space requirement as defined in code.
  • Facilities subject to the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act must implement veterinary care programs that include a hands-on examination.
  • Facilities subject to the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act must implement a two year retention schedule of recordkeeping.
  • Facilities subject to the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act must allow constant and unfettered access to outdoor runs, with exceptions.

2016

  • Facilities subject to the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act must implement the approximately tripled space requirement as defined in code.
  • Facilities subject to the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act will be prohibited from the use of wire strand flooring.

If you have questions about commercial dog breeding or the Animal Care Program, please contact (573) 751-3076.