On Monday, October 31, 2016, the Westchester County Legislation Committee met to discussed proposed legislation on the topic of puppy mill dogs and cats being sold in pet stores. Representatives from several animal welfare organizations and concerned citizens were present at the meeting, including representatives from CLAAW. The Committee heard comments from both sides of the argument.
Arguments Against the Law:
Three people were there arguing against the law in support of the pet store industry: Gary Nudleman, owner of NY Breeder in White Plains as well as pet stores in NYC, Courtney Hogan representing the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, and Dr. Gil Stanzione, D.V.M. from Dakota Veterinary Center in White Plains.
Much of the argument against the law was based on an assumption that the federal laws and Animal Welfare Act are sufficient regulations. For example, Courtney Hogan mentioned that she agreed with the USDA standard for dog enclosure cleaning and sanitizing being required every 2 weeks. Dr. Gil Stanzione, D.V.M, from Dakota Veterinary Center in White Plains, agreed with Courtney Hogan. He stated in response to the proposed Westchester County law requiring enclosures be cleaned and sanitized daily, “In general, it’s a pretty clean place anyway; and every two weeks is, in my opinion, more than adequate.”
Arguments for a Stronger Law:
CLAAW representatives made the case that not only do the USDA standards and Animal Welfare Act set the bar too low, according to an internal USDA audit, these low standards aren’t even being met.
The USDA audit shows that inspectors weren’t always taking action against violators or repeat violators. Additionally the inspectors were not properly documenting violations or misreporting the severity of the violations which led to less frequent inspections at facilities where animals were being neglected or worse. The USDA audit shows pictures of animals with tick infestations, cockroach infested food sources, and severe mutilation and untreated open wounds.
Because of these facts, CLAAW argued that a law relying on USDA investigations and citations does little to help the animal victims of this horrendous industry. We, as a County, have the legal right and obligation to protect animals in our own community, and a law banning the sale of puppy mill dogs and cats in pet stores will do just that. That is why 6 municipalities in Westchester County have already passed puppy mill legislation with more on the way.
Help convince Westchester to pass a stronger law: sign our petition requesting Westchester ban the sale of puppy mill dogs and cats in pet stores: Sign this Petition.