Suffolk pol makes sweeping changes to ‘puppy mill bill’

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07/20/2011 6:32 AM |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Employees at Puppy Experience on the Main Road in Aquebogue have denied selling dogs that come from puppy mills.

The county lawmaker behind a legislative effort to curtail the sale of puppy mill dogs in Suffolk County pet stores has made some major changes to his proposed legislation.

Under the amended bill, local pet stores would only be allowed to adopt out puppies from animal shelters or rescue agencies and could not sell any pups at all.

The stores would be able to solicit donations and make money through selling food, toys and other goods and providing services such as grooming or training.

The original legislation — written by Legislator Jon Cooper (D-Lloyd Harbor) and first discussed publicly at the Legislature’s June meeting in Riverhead — permitted retail puppy sales between breeders and pet stores. But Mr. Cooper has now scrapped that provision.

“Responsible dog breeders won’t sell to pet stores because they want to get to know the families,” Mr. Cooper said in an interview last week.

The legislation would effectively change the business model for Suffolk County pet stories, which would come to resemble those in Glendale, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M. Mr. Cooper’s legislation is being modeled after laws in those municipalities.

Ridge resident Gina Gaeta, who has bred Labradors and French bulldogs for nearly 20 years, said she would “never sell” her puppies to a pet store.

“We interview every single person. We keep in touch. We want to make sure the puppy is going to a good home,” Ms. Gaeta said, adding she believes the legislation is “a good thing for the animals.”

Jeanette Friscia, a trainer for the Riverhead Kennel Club, said her group supports the law in its new form because puppy mill breeding is done “haphazardly.”

“Puppies bred in the Midwest are taken away from their parents too young because nursing weakens the mother dog,” Ms. Friscia said. “We don’t take them as members if they are from puppy mills. We’re looking to improve the breeds.”

Mahlon Goer, a spokesperson for the Rhinebeck-based advocacy group Dog Federation of New York, said while Mr. Cooper’s bill has good intentions, her group believes it “would do real damage to pet owners and retailers.”

“We believe that, as a society, our best approach to supplying puppies and dogs to families looking for a pet is to support licensed, regulated, well-managed pet stores, which in turn obtain their dogs from facilities in compliance with relevant federal and state laws to protect the welfare of animals,” she said in an email.

Both supporters and opponents of the bill are expected to testify at the Legislature’s next public hearing, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the Legislature office in Hauppauge.

In addition to discouraging puppy mill sales, the law aims to promote rescue organizations and animal shelters, Mr. Cooper said.

Gillian Wood Pultz, executive director for the North Fork Animal Welfare League in Southold, was one of many people who spoke at the last public hearing.
She said she’s in favor of having pet stores adopt out pups from animal shelters and rescue agencies, rather than run the risk of having stores sell dogs from large-scale breeding operations that have been known to keep animals in cramped cages with no temperature controls or room to run or play.

“Its certainly not going to close puppy mills, but it will send a message that people here in Suffolk County will not take part in that horrible, brutal industry,” Ms. Pultz said.

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15 Comment

  • So if the “adopted” (read: BOUGHT) pup comes down with parvo or has another disease or genetic issue, who stands behind the puppy? Shouldn’t have to be the pet store, and yet, they would get the bad publicity. How common is it that an adopting group does the kind of testing, etc., that a breeder does? Does the adopting group stand behind the pups like a pet store would if it sold pups from breeder sources? This is such a bunch of ka-ka, how can *intelligent* people without an “animal rights” agenda even fall for it? Animal rights IS NOT animal welfare! Animal rights appeals to emotions and NOT reason. People owe it to themselves and to the public they serve to understand the difference and how the “propaganda mill” BIG LIES are being foisted on the American people.

  • What about the horrible brutal business of “raiding”, read “robbing at gunpoint”, perfectly good breeders to obtain stolen property to fence at the Humane Society’s own pet stores?

    They want you to believe that all breeders are bad so that they can sell you who knows what, that came from who knows where, with who knows what kind of diseases. They want to have no accountability for their actions at the same time that they wantonly destroy decent businesses.

  • Do I understand correctly that the pet stores would not be able to “charge” for the adoption? That the new owner could simply make a “donation”, if possible? So the pet stores will basically be “giving” the shelter/rescue dogs “away”? Will the pet store have to purchase them FROM the shelter or rescue? Or does the shelter/rescue “donate” qualified animals to the store, simply for adoption?
    If this is, in fact, the case…then I could support the effort. However, if the shelter or the store is going to financially benefit from these “adoptions”, then the process needs to be looked at a little more. In light of the many seizures that have taken place illegally and been overturned in the courts..we need to make sure than any financial “incentive” for seizures does not exist. Especially since animal law generally allows for permanent divestment upon the initial hearing, even before the case is heard in a court of record.
    I think the idea of adoptions through the pet store if there is no cost for the adoption, or the adoption is on a “donation” basis only…will help to place many needy pets. But if significant financial incentive is in place, I fear that many good breeders will become targets of seizures, simply to supply the pet market. Perhaps we could set a separate policy for dogs that have been seized that would not allow them to be part of the “adoption” process until the owner has had the opportunity to fully benefit from the court/legal system. If it is understood that seized dogs could not be placed for adoption immediately…that might offer some protection to those that are unfairly charged.
    I would also like to know what, if any procedures are in place, should this concept work so well, that shelter populations dry up. After all, currently we euthanize about 1.8 animals per 100 in our shelters. About 18 million homes are looking for a pet annually, and shelters can supply about 1.5 million dogs, and about 2.5 million cats (mostly ferals..) if they placed everything in a home that is currently euthanized, (according to the statistics). Where should access pets if and when the shelter problem resolves. And should we mandate that ALL domestic animals be spayed or neutered?

  • And I did think the question posed by Marty was a good one as well? If the public is obtaining a pet from the shelter/store concept, will there be any liability on the part of either? Or is this a “buyer beware”, since there will be no guarantees of health, of temperament, or anything else for that matter? And if the “adoption” does not work out, will they be able to return the pet, and possibly try another potential placement?

  • This law will not hurt responsible breeders. It will stop impulse purchases, and potential dog owners will now seek out responsible breeders. They will now be able to visit the puppies parents, see the conditions the dogs live in, know the parents of the puppy are treated with humanity. The law is aimed at stopping puppy mill puppies from being sold in Suffolk County. Responsible breeders would never sell their pups to a store. The facts are that puppy mills supply pet stores, and the parents of those pups suffer everyday of their lives.

  • Kudos to Legislator Jon Cooper and co-sponsor, Legislator Edward Romaine for their monumental efforts to help end animal suffering and cruelty in out of state commercial breeding farms. Surely anyone concerned about the welfare of animals will support bill IR-2011-1545. To do otherwise can only be motivated by profit no matter what the cost.

    Pamela A. Green, E.D.
    Kent Animal Shelter
    2259 River Rd.
    Calverton, N.Y.

  • It sounds like some ar crap! Don’t suckin what this idiots say fight them! They what to take all animals from people and feed you tofu, thats right no meat for you is their goal!

  • Are you ppl aware of the spread of diseases among shelter dogs? Who will be responsible for this? Who will be responsible for the new owners pets who may become sick as a result of being exposed to sick shelter pets? What about the children in these homes that could become sick from diseases? Many shelter dogs are currently being imported from third world countries. These dogs have been imported with everything from rabies, parvo, distemper and screw worm–who will be held accountable? Not to mention the fact that many of the animals in the shelters have behavior and temperment issues that the average owner is unable to deal with-how will this be handled? What will happen to the animals that are returned because of behavior and temperment issues? Will they just be passed from home to home? What if the animal becomes aggressive and attacks and maims a child? Many shelter animals are mixed with pits-have to admit it is very seldom that a little toy poodle does anywhere near the damage that a pit does. Many families do not want pit or pit mixes-after all many sources claim 75% of ALL bites are caused by pits and pit mixes-

    This will greatly reduce the sources for families to buy a nice healthy puppy with no previous behaviour or temperment issues-not to mention I am sure this has to be against the anti trust laws.

  • We have adoped many shelter dogs over the years and never became sick from any of them. Every shelter dog has a different story. Some are there due to the economy, owners moved,divorce bought from a store and realized the commitment a pet requires, and so on. So many shelter dogs make wonderful pets.
    Pet shop puppies are not healthy and come with temperment, health and behaviour issues. They are taken from the mother too soon and shipped in cramped crates across the country.
    This law about helping to end the inhumane treatment of dogs in mills. As you are aware pet shops buy the puppies they sell from brokers or direct from the mill. Reputable breeders will not sell to pet stores.
    Google puppy mill and educate yourself about the connection between pet shops and puppy mills

  • These shelter operators are way too full of themselves and they have the ethics of rattlesnakes.

  • Reputable breeders will not sell to pet stores. Puppy mills will. Reputable breeders understand this bill and are all for it. No one is trying to take away your right to own a pet. But to let the puppy mills continue to sell puppies from their inhumane breeding “Kennels” has to stop. Suffolk County is a great place to start . the people of Suffolk County are saying WE will not support this inhumane business anymore. Google puppy mills and learn the connection between them and your local pet shops. All the puppies I have looked at in Suffolk County pet stores come from Missouri, Minnesota, North Carolina, Iowa Pennsylvaina Not one was from New York State .

  • I have adopted two shelter dogs. I will never adopt another one.

    Dog #1 came with a steamer trunk full of behavioral issues and was not fun to own for the first two years. After that she became a pretty good dog with a variety of health problems and 5 years after we adopted, one cancer after another – we spent over a thousand dollars a year just on vet bills. Her last six months vet bills approached $15K. We were fortunate to be able to cover them.

    Dog #2 is only beginning to show us issues. We see a new one every day. My rehabilitation estimate to near normal, a year. We have owned the dog for 5 months. The stuff caught at the shelter and from running loose cost nearly $1K to cure, and we are looking at an additional $2K in the next month to take care of some other medical issues.

    Both of the shelter dogs cost FAR more that the purpose-bred dogs I’ve purchased from responsible breeders, and they all died years beyond their breed life-expectancy with very few problems. Shelter dogs… never again.

  • Also, the activists want dog breeders to give out their address so that the activists can harass them and make false complaints. The people who want these laws are in on it. Go to, read their material, and follow their links. That’s the true story.

  • This really has NOTHING to do with the breeding per sae – IT IS because there are too many innocent animals – DOGS – especially Pit Bulls being murdered everyday – too many animals, in general being KILLED world wide (too many people, too) – STOP the breeding, STOP the murder –

    Maybe someday it will change, but right now – it pretty much, sucks.

    Please, we need to stop senseless killing of family pets. You all know that in your hearts. I am sure of it – – – – –

  • So your remedy is to violate the rights of a lot of good people?