‘Puppy mill bill’ signed into law, a first for N.Y.

Barnum, a cocker spaniel, was rescued from a puppy mill in 2009. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)
Barnum, a cocker spaniel, was rescued from a puppy mill in 2009. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Suffolk County is now the first county in New York State to regulate the sale of animals and crack down on pet retailers buying from unsafe breeders.

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone signed into law Tuesday the “puppy mill bill,” safeguarding the animals themselves, as well as consumers who have been burdened by unexpected medical costs of caring for their newly purchased pets.

Sponsored by Suffolk County Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) and Legis. William Spencer (D-Huntington), the law sets restrictions for pet stores on which breeders they are allowed to purchase dogs from, and how the pets they purchase — and later sell to the public — are kept and cared for.

The law prohibits pet stores and dealers within the county from selling pets originating from breeders who have received violations from recent inspections conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which regulates breeders.

Businesses found in violation of the law face a $500 fine for each violation, which would be enforced by the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing, and Consumer Affairs.

“Help is on the way for puppy mill pets,” said Pam Green, the executive director of Calverton’s Kent Animal Shelter and one of four members of a subcommittee that helped draft the legislation. “We’re encouraged by the support of the entire Suffolk County Legislature and the people of Long Island.”

Mr. Schneiderman said “this law slams the door on the despicable puppy mill industry. Suffolk County will not tolerate the cruel treatment of animals.”

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