Congratulations to Suffolk County for being the first in New York to make it more difficult for pet stores to sell animals from puppy mills. You can find the new law here but I am going to go over some of the highlights. Not only does the bill enlarge cage size and require suitable care for the animals but the new law require the following:
All enclosures require a tag including the following information:
- Breed of the animal, if known
- Sex of the animal
- Color/Identifying Markers
- Date of birth
- The NAME, STATE and USDA license # of the breeder
Pet dealers may not obtain animals from a breeder if:
- The breeder has received a direct violation from the USDA in the past 2 years
- 2 “No access” violations on the last 2 USDA inspection reports (nobody allows them in to inspect or nobody is at the property)
- Three or more different indirect violations (other than “no access” violations)
- One or more recurring indirect violation on the last USDA report
Pet dealers must have a sign indicating that USDA Inspection Reports are available upon request and actually provide the reports if they are requested from a consumer.
Dealers can be fined up to $500 for each violation.
So what do you think about Suffolk’s first step? Our opinion is that it goes in the right direction. There are certain and clear improvements that should be made in future iterations of this legislation. For instance, relying on inspections from the USDA is likely insufficient, as the level of care that organization offers is minimal.
But from personal experience, I am sure that if New York County had had similar legislation in the spring of 2009 when I was deciding which dog to get, I never would have gotten Zoey, given my concerns at the time about puppy mill dogs and the near-term and congenital health issues Zoey came with. Make no mistake — I have never regretted the decision to purchase Zoey more than 5 years ago. But the reason for this blog is to help educate other potential dog owners about the dangers of puppy mills — and the legislation just passed by Suffolk County on Long Island will likely help further in this regard.