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State must crack down on puppy mills

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Over 50 percent of the many thousands of companion animals that end up in shelters each year are, unfortunately, euthanized. The overcrowding is often exacerbated by commercial breeding facilities, often known as puppy mills. When these facilities, some as large as 1,000 animals, close down, it is the state and local communities/shelters that have to care for all these animals that have been gravely neglected. They have lived their lives in wire crates only six inches bigger on all sides than they are, with virtually no health or grooming care, left with temperature extremes and insufficient clean water and food. Add five or six puppies and it is torturously crowded. We can rectify this by demanding that the current bill, A.740/S.3753, is voted into law.

These facilities exist because pet stores buy their puppies with no thought for the conditions under which the breeding animals live or the health of the puppies. They are licensed by the USDA, which has admitted that they cannot adequately supervise and inspect the number (over 10,000) of these farms that exist. Inspection visits are often only performed once a year. There is seldom any follow-up regarding infractions. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) completed an audit in 2010 documenting this failure. The shocking report can be seen online at: http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/33002-4-SF.pdf. It clearly documents why we need this bill executed now.

The state, which licenses the pet stores that purchase these animals, is in the same position as the USDA. Therefore, for those communities that wish to do so, A.740/S.3753 would allow municipalities to oversee their local breeders and pet stores, allowing more frequent visits to evaluate compliance with appropriate laws. New York state appears to be the only state that disallows such home rule. That must change.

This situation has become critical as breeders flee neighboring states which have enacted tougher regulations, cutting into the profits of the breeders who want to make money even at the expense of the animals’ care and consumer protection. If towns, cities and/or counties in the state want to do better for the animals, their residents and their bottom lines, they should be allowed to do so. If anyone would like to contact his/her representatives and ask them to vote for this bill, names and contact information can be found via this site: http://www.suny.edu/govtrelations/state/Representative.cfm.

Janice Wilson

Parish

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