The Humane Society of the US (HSUS) may have picked on the wrong woman. Courthouse News states the group published a Dirty Dozen list of the twelve worst breeders in Missouri as part of a publicity campaign in the build up for a successful 2010 state ballot initiative that banned so-called puppy mills. One of the kennels mentioned in the HSUS press release was owned by a Mary Ann Smith who is the mother of Republican U.S. House member Jason Smith.
Ms. Smith sued the Human Society alleging that the statements made about her kennel were false, scandalous, and defamatory and they dispossessed her business of public confidence and social and business associations. While a lower court dismissed her claim, a state appellate court reversed it on appeal and remanded it back to the lower court to be heard. The case is fascinating because it shows the courage and resolve needed to defend your reputation against animal rights groups. It remains to be seen if the animal rights PR machine has picked on the wrong person, but it is refreshing that someone is willing to take the fight against the forces that hate humanity and seek to destroy ownership of domesticated animals.