Suffolk County Legislature Passes “Puppy Mill Bill”

Suffolk County Legislature approved an amendment that will require more disclosure from pet stores and prohibit the sale of animals from proven puppy mills.

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Hauppauge, N.Y., June 3, 2014 – Suffolk County became the first in New York State to take advantage of the recently signed state law authorizing municipalities to adopt stricter local regulations for pet dealers. Deputy Presiding Officer Jay Schneiderman and Legislator William Spencer, M.D. spearheaded the changes to local law and drafted the bill with the assistance of various animal advocacy groups, including Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), and local store owners. The Government Operations, Personnel, Housing & Consumer Protection Committee had already unanimously approved the bill on May 28 and enjoyed widespread support from the community. The most important provision in Introductory Resolution 1047-14 prohibits pet shops from purchasing animals from questionable breeders with violations on their most recent USDA report.

Today is a victory for Suffolk County’s animal advocates and puppy mill breeding dogs. The passage of the “Puppy Mill Bill” is a testament to how we can produce positive results for companion animals by working closely with other animal advocacy groups. It has been a privilege to work with local legislators and educate them on the connection between puppy mills and our local pet dealers. This bill is a first step in stopping Suffolk County’s pet dealers from sourcing puppies from puppy mills. It holds pet dealers accountable, something that was long overdue.

Barbara Dennihy
New York Director
Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)

Key Changes:
• Prohibits pet dealers from purchasing animals from a breeder that has one or more reoccurring indirect violations on their most recent USDA report.
• Requires pet stores and pet dealers to post notice that USDA inspection reports are available upon request.
• Requires disclosure of additional breeder and broker information.
• Authorizes fines up to $500

The bill will be the first of many to pass in municipalities across the state. New York politicians have demonstrated a willingness to work with animal welfare groups, making sure they always have a place at the legislative table regarding pet dealer regulations. From now on, there will be an oversight committee in Suffolk County made up of local advocates that will regularly check up on pet stores to make sure they’re not buying animals from mills. CAPS is currently working on similar bills in New York City.

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