Animal Care Program

Animal Care LogoAnimal Care Program

Missouri’s Animal Care Program regulates breeders, dealers, boarders, shelters and pet stores to ensure that they meet state standards regarding feed, water, shelter, veterinary care, building maintenance, socialization, identification and recordkeeping requirements.

The Animal Care Program currently has 824 licensed commercial breeders and 2,111 total ACFA licensees (which also includes boarding kennels, shelters, dealers and pet stores.)

Since 2009, animal care inspectors have rescued more than 6,100 dogs from substandard facilities and the work continues through the dedication of field staff and public participation in Operation Bark Alert.

The Animal Care Program is staffed by fourteen field staff located throughout the state that 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.

Regulatory standards are defined under 2 CSR 30-9.010 through 2 CSR 30-9.030, a 21-page document that articulates everything from the number of times that animals must be fed and watered to materials that are acceptable for animal collars. Animal Care staff meet throughout the year for policy and training sessions to ensure that the regulations are strictly interpreted and fairly enforced.

Operation Bark Alert

The 2009 launch of Operation Bark Alert has brought recent attention to the program by allowing the general public to report kennels with questionable practices or an unknown license status. With the help of the public, Operation Bark Alert acted on hundreds of online tips in its first year, resulting in 40 separate rescues and surrenders. The program continues to correct egregious instances of improper care through compliance and legal action.

Commercial Breeders

Missouri’s Animal Care Program regulates commercial breeders that enter dogs or cats into commerce. All commercial breeders are licensed and inspected at least once a year by animal care inspectors. More...

Blue Ribbon Kennel Program

The Blue Ribbon Kennel Program contributes to the improvement of kennels that are already in good standing with the state. Kennels with favorable inspection histories are allowed to apply for Blue Ribbon status, provided that they meet the additional requirements. Continuing education is accessible to all licensees, whether or not they aspire to be a Blue Ribbon Kennel. Blue Ribbon puppies must be permanently identified and originate from these outstanding facilities.

Pet Friendly Spay and Neuter Funding

Funds for pet spay and neuter programs are also administered through the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Donations from the sale of “I’m Pet Friendly” specialty license plates generate the grant money awarded by a three-member panel appointed by Governor Jay Nixon. Those grants are then distributed to selected agencies for their efforts to help reduce the number of unwanted animals through local and regional spay and neuter initiatives.

Puppy Protection Trust Fund

The Puppy Protection Trust Fund was created to provide Missourians an avenue to donate directly to Canine Cruelty Prevention Act (CCPA) enforcement and education efforts. In 2011, the CCPA created rule enhancements for large-scale dog breeders, including continuous access to water, facility upgrades, space requirements that greatly exceed federal requirements and hands-on veterinary examinations for all adult dogs covered under the Act. The Puppy Protection Trust Fund is protected by law as a dedicated fund for carrying out the requirements of the CCPA and ensuring that breeders meet Missouri’s higher standards. The fund is supported by a tax refund check-off option for Missouri residents that allows both individuals and corporations to donate $1 or more from their tax returns.

Requests for information and contributions may be made at any time directly to:
Missouri Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 630
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0630
(573) 751-3076