Riverhead City Council will move forward with local law prohibiting the sale of commercially farmed dogs and cats in pet stores.
City council members agreed on Thursday to hold a vote at next Tuesday’s city council meeting which, if passed, schedules a September 8 public hearing on the code change. City Councilor Ken Rothwell, who introduced the bill, said the text remained unchanged since it was introduced in a working session on July 29.
The announcement came after supervisor Yvette Aguiar emailed the board on Monday, August 2, asking members to “reconsider” the progress of the legislation. She has attached a memo opposing the legislation of an advocacy group backed by pet dealers called People United to Protect Pet Integrity, known by the acronym “PUPPI.” Rothwell had said the council would vote at its August 3 meeting to schedule the public hearing, but it was never put on the meeting’s agenda. (See previous cover)
The law requires stores to provide a certificate of origin for dogs and cats showing they came from animal shelters, animal control agencies, humanitarian companies or non-profit rescue groups registered with of State. The legislation would not restrict individual purchases from licensed breeders, nor would it affect the adoption of pets from shelters or rescue groups.
Aguiar told RiverheadLOCAL that the resolution was not put on the agenda at Rothwell’s request because he wanted to review the legislation with the city attorney’s office and review the legislation pending for the legislature of the state.
In a guest column on RiverheadLOCAL on Wednesday, Aguiar clarified her stance on puppy mills in response to comments on Facebook that she called a political attack.
Rothwell said he was determined to pass the legislation, but wanted to organize an additional working session for board members Frank Beyrodt and Tim Hubbard, who were absent for the July 29 working session. Hubbard was not present for work on Thursday due to an injury.
Beyrodt said on Thursday that he liked the legislation. “I think these are really important steps and I would definitely go ahead with the public hearing on this,” he said.
The law would affect two pet stores in the town of Riverhead, The Puppy Experience in Aquebogue and the Sportsman Kennel in Manorville, according to the Puppy Mill Free Long Island website, a group that compiles pet stores that sell puppy mill dogs and organizes protests against them.
The proposed code provides for fines from a minimum of $ 250 for the first violation to a maximum of $ 2,500 for a third violation and subsequent ones, as well as a jail term of up to 30 days. Pet facility operators would have up to 90 days to comply with the new code after its effective date.
The legislation targets puppy mills, which are “a high volume, inhumane dog breeding facility that produces puppies for profit, ignoring the needs of puppies and their mothers,” according to the Humane Society of the United States. . The bitches in the mills are overcrossed and often killed or abandoned after they are unable to breed, according to the company. Puppies that come from factories often suffer from health problems after their purchase.
There are an estimated 10,000 operating puppy mills in the United States; About 500,000 dogs are kept for breeding purposes only in factories and 2.6 million crushed puppies are sold each year, according to the Humane Society.
Suffolk County enacted legislation in 2014 that prohibits pet stores or dealers from selling pets from breeders who were violated in recent inspections conducted by the USDA. County law prohibits the sale of puppies under 8 weeks of age and requires pet dealers to provide background information of an animal at the request of a consumer, including the origin of the animal, USDA records and other additional documents.
A bill currently pending in the state legislature would completely ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits by retail pet stores. The bill passed by qualified majority in the state Senate in May, but has yet to be passed by the assembly, where it remains in committee. State Senator Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) is one of the bill’s many co-sponsors.
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