Historic Huntington Pet Store May Close If NYS Bill Passes

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HUNTINGTON STATION, NY – The era of a long-standing pet store in Huntington Station may be coming to an end. Selmer’s Pet Land, a family business that claims to be America’s oldest pet store, would likely be forced to close its 125 E. Jericho Turnpike store if a New York State bill banned the sale of dogs, cats and retail rabbits pet stores be adopted.

Selmer’s Pet Land was founded in 1939. Jessica Selmer, the owner, inherited the store from her father after it was passed to her by her father before him.

“My grandfather opened the store when Jericho Turnpike was a dirt road,” Selmer told Patch.

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If the legislation is passed, the sale of pets in retail stores could be banned as early as 2021, NBC 4 reported.

The bill is led by Deputy Senate Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and has 18 Senate co-sponsors, The Legislative Gazette reported. It aims to encourage the adoption and rescue of pets, and to reduce the demand from mill breeders.

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“The question is whether we should treat our animals like commodities,” Gianaris said according to The Legislative Gazette. “This is not the way we should treat living things.”

Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Federation for the Protection of Animals, told NBC 4 that the puppy mills, along with the less common cat and rabbit design factories, had led to support for the project. of law. She said the proposal is an “opportunity for pet stores to rebrand themselves as compassionate businesses that put puppies before profits.”

If passed, the bill would impact about 80 pet retail stores, mostly in New York City and Long Island, NBC 4 reported. That includes Selmer’s Pet Land, now in its 81st year.

Selmer said that while she is pro-rescue, she wouldn’t want her clients’ choice eliminated when it comes to buying or adopting a puppy or rabbit; Selmer’s Pet Land does not sell cats.

“Just by definition of common sense, it takes away the freedom of choice,” Selmer said. “It forces people to save and not buy an animal. It’s really a ban in pet stores. It’s not a puppy mill ban.”

New Yorkers could still buy cats, dogs and rabbits directly from breeders, but pet stores that break the law could face penalties, NBC 4 reported. The bill, which would allow stores to work with it. animal shelters or rescue groups to offer animals for adoption, would come into effect one year after being enacted. However, Selmer said it would be “unrealistic” to allow a section of the store to feature third-party rescue dogs. The reasons she gave are: liability insurance, stores are not compensated for their overheads and “no rescue will work with stores”.

Selmer said there was a demand for newborn puppies, adding that some customers’ children with special needs would not be a special needs pet, and some of her senior customers could not handle. properly a rescue.

“It would be very irresponsible to force people not to have a choice of whether or not to have a new puppy,” she said. “My concern is for my clients.”

Selmer also rejected the idea that pet stores are complicit in puppy mills. She described puppy mills as the mistreatment of animals that do not have veterinary care or supervision and countered that Suffolk County pet stores have the strictest regulations in any county in the state. . She said pet stores must be licensed and the breeders they use must have clear reporting from the United States Department of Agriculture. Selmer said a vet oversees the store and must pass inspections by Suffolk County Consumer Affairs and the US Department of Agriculture.

“Stores are the definition of consumer protection,” she said. “They are required by law to ensure the health of the puppies they sell.”

Lawmakers admitted the law would hurt pet stores ‘revenues, but also said pet sales only make up a small portion of retailers’ revenues, as the majority of their profits come from goods and services, such as food, supplies or grooming, the Legislative Gazette reported.

Selmer disagrees.

“[Legislators] say it won’t bankrupt us, but now with Chewy, Amazon and the internet, and the way everyone is moving away from mom and pop stores, we’d be bankrupt if we didn’t have to deal with cattle, ”he said. she said. “It is completely wrong to say that we would still be in business, because we would not be. “

If the bill passes, Selmer predicts that Selmer’s Pet Land would be forced to close within a year.

“I hadn’t really planned that [bill] go as far as it does, considering it does nothing. It only hurts the good actors. Being a good actor, I didn’t have a plan. I did not think that such a premature and thoughtless bill would ever go this far. “

She said Selmer’s Pet Land has long been an integral part of the Huntington community by supporting relief organizations with food donations and providing raffle baskets and donations to local police and firefighters, as well as to Girl Scout troops.

“New York doesn’t need empty storefronts anymore,” Selmer said. “There would be unemployment issues, a lack of store tax revenue and just another empty store in Huntington.”

New York would join Maryland and California, as well as hundreds of municipalities nationwide, if the ban goes into effect, Syracuse.com reported.


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