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Animal Advocates Support Ban of Puppies for Retail Sale

Suffolk County Legis. Jon Cooper and local animal rescuers, pet shop owners and breeders say puppy mills are 'squalid, inhumane,'— and a ban on retail sales of the animals will help combat the problem.

Animal rights proponents and Suffolk County Legis. Jon Cooper rallied at a county meeting this week to support a proposed bill to ban the retail sale of puppies in Suffolk County.

Cooper said he is proposing the bill to “combat the problem of puppy mills,” breeding operations where pet shop retailers get many of their animals.

“When pet stores buy from breeders, 99.9 percent of the time they’re buying them from puppy mills,” he said at the Tuesday afternoon meeting in Riverhead.

 According to the Animal Rights Coalition’s Website:

  • Four to five million animals die in shelters every year (roughly 11,000 per day).
  • About 20 percent of animals in shelters are purebred.
  • It’s estimated that four million dogs are bred in puppy mills every year.
  • There are nearly 6,000 USDA-licensed commercial kennels in the U.S.

Pam Green, Executive Director of Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton, described puppy mills as “squalid and inhumane” and supported the proposed ban at the meeting.

“What this legislation will accomplish will not only help put an end to squalid, inhumane conditions of the puppy mills, but it will also be instrumental in the education of consumers that the cute little puppy they’re about to purchase is the product of the horror of puppy mills,” she said.

Sarah Davidson of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons agreed, saying that “puppies playing in windows plays at the heartstrings of an unsuspecting public.” 

But Jeff Silverstein, who owns several pet shops in Manhattan, Nassau County and northern New Jersey, said that passing a bill to ban established businesses is not constitutional.

“You can’t just shut someone down,” he said. “That’s not America. You have to go after pet stores that don’t care.” 

Others at the meeting questioning the bill wanted more proof that most retail puppies come from puppy mills.

“In reality, there are no statistics that provide the numbers for what the people in favor of this proposition are talking about—no legit ones—no statistics,” said cat breeder Joan Bernstein.

Amy Azzara Cirincione, owner of the of Cutchogue and animal rescuer, said that no reputable breeder with high standards of care and placement would give her their dogs to sell in a retail environment.

“In all of my research and experience, I have found that there is no way for me to sell puppies from my retail establishment that does not contribute to the suffering of both the parent dogs and the puppies bred from them,” she said. 

Gillian Wood Pultz, Director of the, said she supported the proposed law because “every single puppy originally purchased from a pet store that has ended up at my shelter has a microchip that is traced back to a puppy mill.”

A store manager of retail pet store the Puppy Experience in Aquebogue said that he did not want to comment on the issue at this time.

barbara d June 24, 2011 at 06:06 PM
Puppy mills are breeding facilities that produce puppies in mass quantities to sell to retail puppy stores Mills disregard the physical social and emotional health of dogs Mother dogs breed puppies every heat cycle their entire life When dogs can no longer produce puppies they are sold at auctions left to starve or inhumanly killed Imagine forcing a dog to spend its entire life in a tiny wire cage Never let out to stretch exercise or relieve itself No veterinary care when sick or in pain Many people think they are rescuing a puppy by buying one from a retail store In reality they are simply creating a space for another mill puppy and sentencing parent dogs to spend another day suffering in the mills Puppy mill dogs are the the innocent victims of a non educated public and greedy businessman Chose a reputable breeder adopt from a breed specific rescue or animal shelter The USDA a federal agency in charge of protecting puppy mill dogs has epically failed in their job. In 2010 The inspector general of the USDA released a report of an internal two year investigation stating the horrific conditions and violations at these puppy mills Admitting the failure of his agency One year later there is overwhelming proof puppy mills dogs are NO more protected then they were 3 years ago The inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills will not be tolerated in Suffolk County N.Y. I am in full support of Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper's bill I.R.1545-2011
Erica Wells June 24, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Its awful that place is still in business. If people want to do a protest and move to have a law passed in the town that bans those kinds of places from being able to operate, I'd be more than happy to support that. I know my sister bought a dog from there and we love her but she was young and didn't know any better. We also took a dog from Amy years ago that she rescued that we absolutely love as well, Riley, she has been a great addition to our family. And I believe that it is necessary to save and rescue dogs who don't have homes before going to purchase one at a puppy place linked to these mills. Its a disgrace and doesn't belong on the North Fork, it cheapens our hometown village spirit.

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