A very good start
Recently Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper introduced a local law that would ban the retail sale of puppies by pet stores in Suffolk County, unless they are obtained from animal shelters, animal rescue organizations or local breeders.
The North Fork Animal Welfare League is in full support of this legislation.
One hundred percent of the microchipped puppies originally purchased from local pet stores and then abandoned at the Southold Animal Shelter came from huge, out-of-state puppy brokerage houses, known better as puppy mills.
While the NFAWL is aware that this law alone will not close down these hellholes, it makes a very clear statement regarding what the residents of Suffolk County are willing to participate in.
If this law passes, our community is unequivocally saying that we will not encourage, enable or support the brutal and inhumane puppy mill industry.
Voltaire said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” There is no one perfect law that will end the suffering that puppy mills perpetuate. But this is a good law that can be an outstanding example of how acting locally can promote national change.
Please let your voices speak for those who cannot speak for themselves by attending the public hearing on this issue on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge at 6:30 p.m.
Gillian Wood Pultz
NFAWL executive director
I am the owner of the Feed Bag pet store in Cutchogue, but I do not sell animals. Prior to opening my store I worked for three different Suffolk stores that sold puppies. I would like to describe for you my firsthand experience in this business.
The majority of puppies sold would be trucked from huge Midwest puppy brokers, some with numerous USDA violations. When they arrived, an assembly line would be set up. The transporter would grab a pup by the back of the neck and hand it to a store employee, who would then pass the puppy to me. My job would be to “inspect” the puppy. I was not a veterinarian or a vet tech. If the puppy had visible abnormalities it would be tossed back on the truck, its fate unknown.
The puppies sold at this store that did not come off these trucks were shipped by air to either La Guardia or Kennedy. They arrived in filthy crates filled with many puppies, not all of them alive.
The healthy-looking puppies that came into the store would go right onto the show floor. If the puppy was sick it would go to the “Iso” (isolation) room. All illnesses — kennel cough, parvovirus or distemper — were lumped together and all sick animals would go in the same room. The shop owner, not a veterinarian, would then determine the medical treatment the puppies would receive.
Every morning when we arrived for work the puppies would be filthy, covered in excrement, screaming and hungry. These were the lucky ones. Some just sat and shook. Others were removed from their cages dead. The shop owner would be compensated by the broker for puppies dying within a certain time frame after delivery.
There was no incentive to make these puppies healthy by sending them to a vet; that would cost money and affect the bottom line. After a week or so in recovery, and as demand required, they went to the sales floor. As sales associates, we were never advised to counsel potential buyers on the appropriate breed for their family. We were given bonuses based on our gross sales. The other two stores I worked in that sold puppies differed very little from this.
When I went into this business it was because I wanted to be the person that facilitates that perfect moment when a family meets their new member. I wanted to be the one that put those fabulous smiles on their excited faces when they found the perfect puppy.
I work closely with the local shelter, providing high quality food at low cost for the sheltered animals and space in my store for animals needing homes. In spite of this, I have found that there is no way for me to sell puppies that does not contribute to the suffering of both the parent dogs and the puppies bred from them.
Reputable breeders with high standards of care do not sell their puppies to any pet stores for resale. The only option for pet stores wishing to make a profit selling puppies is puppy mills.
I do not sell animals in my store because it is impossible to do so without contributing to this barbaric trade. I wholeheartedly support this legislation and thank Legislator Cooper and Legislator Romaine for introducing this bill,
Clear him or call the DA
I read in the newspaper that the Riverhead Town finance director, who is the head of the finance department, is under investigation for using town time and resources for his private business. I understand that the investigation is now complete, but the results of the investigation have not been released.
Since Supervisor Walter permitted the release that an investigation was under way, it seems only fair to the individual to publish the results. I sincerely hope that politics have not interfered with justice. Just because our finance director is campaign treasurer for Chris Cox — the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress who also happens to be the son of New York State Republican Committee chairman Ed Cox — and our Town Board is 100 percent Republican should not be a factor. If he is innocent, say so! If not, turn the matter over to the Suffolk County District Attorney.
Not the right message on plastic
Riverhead’s anti-litter advisory committee members are disappointed by some remarks made by Town Board members as quoted in the June 16 News-Review article about plastic bags.
The plastic bags that we find so convenient do have costs that are easily overlooked. They contribute to unsightly litter throughout the town, they kill marine animals that mistake them for food, approximately 60 to 100 million barrels of oil per year are required to produce them worldwide, they can take hundreds of years to decompose and when they do, they release toxic chemicals into soil and groundwater.
Our committee agrees with the sentiment that it would not be realistic to attempt to ban the use of plastic bags in Riverhead. However, we strongly disagree with the opinion that reusable shopping bags are not an alternative to at least the partial reduction in the use of plastic bags. Only last year, the current Town Board recognized the Stop & Shop grocery for their efforts to discourage the use of plastic bags by giving a rebate of $.05 for every reusable bag a customer would use. For Mr. Walter to say reusable bags can be a health risk is misinformation that could potentially encourage the use of plastic. I will confess that I wrap meat products in a plastic bag, but for everything else, reusable bags are a very reasonable alternative.
I recently asked two local store managers about the amount of plastic bags they use each week. One was a supermarket, where the assistant manager estimated 16,000 plastic bags each week. Walmart manager Stephen Simone told me his store uses approximately 48,000. If we were to double these uses to conservatively account for all plastic bags used in Riverhead each week it amounts to 128,000. If we then multiply this number by 52 weeks it amounts to a staggering 6,656,000 plastic bags used each year, just in Riverhead.
Significant reductions in the use and discard of plastic bags could be made by simple changes in our personal habits. This is the message that should be coming from the Town Board. We hope Councilman Wooten will take the lead to explore alternative solutions to the overuse of plastic bags in our community. The committee is more than willing to assist him.
chairman, anti-litter advisory committee
What a day on the riverfront
Sometimes hard work, determination and fortitude really pay off. This past Sunday was an example of such an occasion when the second annual Riverhead Cardboard Boat Race was held along the Peconic River in downtown Riverhead. I would like to personally thank the Riverhead Business Improvement District as the sponsor of the event, with a special thanks to Ray Pickersgill, the BID president, Ed Densieski, the boat race committee and all the volunteers who made this a truly great family and fun event. It was clearly evident that the event was well planned with safety being an absolute priority.
My two sons, Ian and Jay Oxman, and their friend Jonah Holderer were sponsored by the Long Island Science Center to design and construct a boat for Sunday. The boys approached the task with keen interest and a desire to build a boat that not only would stay afloat, but hopefully lead them to victory. After much research on applicable designs and construction, the boys decided they would name their boat The Archimedes after the Greek mathematician who discovered the laws of buoyancy and displacement. Armed with mathematical formulas and based on their combined weight, the boys designed a craft that would be fast and steady. They built scale models and tested different types of duct tape. I assured them that they would not end up in the Peconic River, though I had really had no way of knowing; many a good ship went down last year. Their research and hard work paid off. Not only did they stay dry, the boys paddled The Archimedes into a first place victory.
Walking the boardwalk Sunday, it was great to see all the other entries that would soon test their seaworthiness. The designs were inspiring, ranging from the very serious to the cleverly whimsical. It was great to be part of such a wonderful event. The boardwalk was packed with cheering spectators.
Events like the Cardboard Boat Race bring a community together. This particular event takes advantage of a natural resource that few communities in the country have, a wonderful river that is both scenically beautiful and offers great recreational opportunities.
Thank you to the Long Island Science Center for your sponsorship of The Archimedes, and thank you again to the BID and to all those involved for holding this fantastically fun event.
Just like slavery
Regarding the gay marriage bill and state Senator Ken LaValle’s refusal to vote for it, Mr. LaValle says, “My constituents are not ready for this…” This is the same argument that was used against the bill to outlaw slavery. Some lawmakers said that the slaves may not be ready for emancipation, that slaves may not know what to do with a newfound freedom!
Nowhere to be found
Whatever happened to the idea that the supervisor and Town Council work full time for the town?
I can never find any of them at Town Hall when I visit there.
To get an appointment with Supervisor Walter seems to be more difficult than to get an appointment with God.
Perhaps that is because he is spending most of his time (and ours) at his Wading River law office, also known as “Town Hall West.”
Editor’s note: Ms. Patrikis is a Riverhead Town Democratic Committee member.
Congratulations to Jonathan Kongoletos and Justin Petito for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
Elizabeth Taggart acknowledged their achievements in her June 23 column in the News-Review. Please print this letter to notify your readership that Wading River Fire Department Inc. sponsors Boy Scout Troop 94. Financial, as well as inspirational, support is provided. At the Court of Honor Ceremony on June 18, I presented plaques to Jonathan and Justin on behalf of Wading River Fire Department Inc.
We are proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of these fine gentlemen.
president, Wading River Fire Department Inc.
Team effort in ‘Flanders Village’
First of all, we must thank The Friends of the Big Duck for inviting us to co-sponsor the very successful 2011 craft fair and flea market, which enabled us to raise more than $1,300 for our organization. We will welcome any future opportunity to combine forces with this very dedicated group.
Secondly, we would like to thank the volunteers from our organization, Liza and her sister, Carolyn, Lane, Karen, Wendy and her faithful companion Odin, Barbara and yours truly, who all worked so tirelessly throughout the day directing traffic, selling raffle tickets and manning the society’s table. Your efforts are all greatly appreciated.
We would also like to thank those who donated items for the raffle, which alone raised $403 for the Flanders Village Historical Society. They were as follows:
• Grand Prize: “Heron on Reeves Bay” (print 1/100) donated by the artist, our own Mary Van Deusen;
• 1st Prize: mixed case of wine donated by Duck Walk Vineyard, Water Mill;
• 2nd Prize: canoe rental donated by Peconic Paddler;
• 3rd Prize: admission for two (2) donated by Atlantis Marine World; and
• 4th Prize: wine assortment donated by Michael’s Liquors.
Last but not least, we extend our gratitude to contributing members Jason Roche, owner of J.R. Irrigation LLC, and John Moore, owner of Moore Green Inc., for donating their lawn care and landscape services for the maintenance of the grounds at the Blue Barn. In the near future, with their help, we are confident that the Blue Barn will join the Big Duck and become one of the more visible gems of our community.
Flanders Village Historical Society
An opening pitch from Van Glad
I would like to take a moment of your time and tell you a little bit about myself and some of my goals. I am a candidate for Riverhead Town Council. I have lived in Riverhead since 1998 and have been active in politics my whole life. My family has long been involved in the political process in both New York and New Jersey, dating well back into the early ’20s. My parents taught me at a young age to realize that no person is an island and that we as a community need to work together for the greater good or we will not have a community worth living in.
It is apparent to me, as I am sure it is to you, that our town has been affected by the world and national problems of our times. The rising cost of heating our homes and other utilities due to international crisis has affected us all, from the day-to-day working man to big business. The struggles of the state and federal governments to find an answers to their own fiscal dilemmas has placed localities in a position of needing to be more self-sufficient when it comes to their financial needs. Therefore, we in the Town of Riverhead must work together to find a solution to our fiscal goals.
Unending tax increase, the decay of our Main Street and the erosion of our jobs has given me great concern for our once grand and wonderful town and its taxpayers. It seems that our town is becoming a haven for large business, leaving small mom-and-pop family enterprises adrift in their wake. The small-town feeling of Riverhead will not be replaceable once it’s gone.
We must speak up for our town before it is taken over by outside interests that might just destroy our quality of life for their own financial gain and benefit. It’s time to speak up now and demand that Riverhead stay solvent and improve the quality of life for all its residents!
I hope I can count on your support. Together we can take back Riverhead and have a community we can all live, work, play and raise our families in — now and in the future.
Thank you, and together we can find “a better way for Riverhead.”
Matt Van Glad
Democratic candidate for Town Council
An initial pitch from Williams
It is with pride and earnest consideration that I have accepted the nomination as a candidate for the Riverhead Town Board. I am honored to be seriously considered for a position which holds such great esteem. As a retired New York State Trooper, I have dedicated my adult life to public service. For almost 20 years my duties were to serve and protect the people of New York.
Like some of you, I came to Riverhead and joined the incredible growth our town has seen in just the past decade. Riverhead population has grown 17 percent between the years 2000 and 2010. That’s an increase from 27,680 people to 33,506 in our town. As a resident, I believe the growth of Riverhead is admirable. But, as a taxpayer who depends on the services provided by local government, I am not confident Riverhead’s current leaders have our best interest at heart. There must be a plan, yes, a better way for Riverhead to meet the challenges facing the future of our town.
My plan as a Riverhead councilman is simple. I will work hard and tirelessly to reduce the tax burden on Riverhead residents. Not only is it the fastest-growing Long Island town, it is also the poorest town on the East End. Despite these facts, Riverhead will have the highest tax increase on Long Island of approximately 4.3 percent in fiscal year 2011.
I began my campaign for councilman to advocate for a few straightforward issues: tax relief, fiscal responsibility, honest government and safe neighborhoods. As I have gone around our town, speaking and listening to people about their issues and concerns, I realize the great recession has impacted us all. Whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, and in spite of economic status, we are all affected by the downturn of Riverhead’s economy.
I pledge to put every effort forward to address the tax challenges we face and will diligently work at creating a transparent, inclusive government that puts the needs of Riverhead citizens first. I humbly ask for your support and vote to be your next Riverhead councilman. On Nov. 8, let your voices be heard and vote for Marlando Williams as councilman. Thank you.
Democratic candidate for Town Council