Due to state regs, Suffolk ‘puppy mill bill’ off the table

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | A proposed law to ban the sale of puppies, like Zoey pictured above, at pet stores in Suffolk has been taken off the table.

A proposed law to ban the sale of puppies at pet stores within Suffolk County has been yanked.

Legislator Jon Cooper (D-Lloyd Harbor), whose bill aimed to curtail the sale of puppy mill dogs, said Thursday night in a press release the county’s law department has determined state law prohibits local municipalities from enacting legislation to regulate pet stores.

“Because of this existing New York state preemption, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we have no choice but to withdraw this bill,” Mr. Cooper said, adding the August 2 public hearing in Hauppauge has been cancelled.

Under his recently amended bill, Mr. Cooper proposed local pet stores could not sell any dogs at all and would only be allowed to adopt out puppies from animal shelters or rescue agencies.

Since the law can’t be enacted, Mr. Copper said he’s now working on new legislation to create the nation’s first rating system for pet stores.

The proposed voluntary program, called the Pet Store Companion Animal Rating System, will include a list of criteria that consumers can use to rate pet stores and breeding facilities.

“It is my hope that such a rating system will provide a legally permissible way for Suffolk County to reduce the demand for companion animals sourced from puppy mills and kitten factories,” Mr. Cooper said.

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