Missouri Supreme Court hears arguments on puppy mill defamation case
MDN Menu
MDN.ORG Mo. Digital News Missouri Digital News MDN.ORG: Mo. Digital News MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News

Missouri Supreme Court hears arguments on puppy mill defamation case

Date: March 2, 2016
By: Nicole Shaddy
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: 
A Missouri woman's defamation case made it to the Missouri Supreme Court today after a 2010 Humane Society report claimed her kennel was one of the worst puppy mills in the state.
RunTime: 0:44
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: An attorney for Mary Smith argued the U.S. Humane Society's report, which called her kennel one of the state's "dirty dozen," defamed her and invaded her right to privacy as a private citizen.

Actuality:  GAUNT2.WAV
Run Time: 00:11
Description: "But in this case you've got a private citizen who is in rural Missouri, minding her own business, running a kennel, and she finds herself on the national news."
An attorney for the Humane Society said the report was an opinion and was political speech intended to rally support for Proposition B, and therefore protected by the First Amendment.

Proposition B was a proposed state constitutional amendment at the time that would have enacted stricter regulations on puppy mills.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Nicole Shaddy. 

 

Intro: 
The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments today in a woman's defamation case involving a 2010 Humane Society report that called her kennel one of the worst puppy mills in the state.
RunTime: 0:46
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: Mary Smith's attorney argued the report was an invasion of her privacy as a private citizen, and the U.S. Humane Society only included her kennel in the report for political reasons.

Smith is the mother of Republican Congressman Jason Smith, who was serving in the Missouri House at the time.

The Humane Society's attorney Bernard Rhodes called this claim "bogus."

Actuality:  RHODES1.WAV
Run Time: 00:13
Description: "Mrs. Smith was selected because she was in over her head. For more than 10 years she tried to run a dog kennel and was in over her head, and therefore she had violation after violation after violation."
Rhodes said the Humane Society is protected by the First Amendment because the report was opinion and should be considered political speech.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Nicole Shaddy.

 

Intro: 
The Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments today in a woman's defamation case against the U.S. Humane Society that gained national media attention.
RunTime: 0:46
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: Mary Smith's attorney argued the Humane Society defamed her and invaded her right to privacy as a private citizen when it published a report in 2010 that claimed her kennel was among the "dirty dozen" worst puppy mills in the state.

The Humane Society's attorney said even though she is a private citizen, the report was a matter of public concern.

Actuality:  RHODES2.WAV
Run Time: 00:23
Description: "She voluntarily sought a federal license to engage in a moneymaking activity. She voluntarily sought out a state license to engage in a moneymaking activity. She did so in what she knew was the puppy mill capital of the world, and she subjected herself to the publicity attendant to a spirited public debate about that topic."
Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Nicole Shaddy.

 

 


Missouri Digital News is produced by Missouri Digital News, Inc. -- a non profit organization of current and former journalists.