With the passage of the Suffolk County Pet Dealer Bill, Suffolk is now the first county in New York State to enact “puppy mill” legislation under a pet sale state law that took effect in January.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signed the bill on June 17 following a unanimous vote by county legislators.
“This law slams the door on the despicable puppy mill industry,” said Legislator Jay Schneiderman, of Montauk. “Suffolk County will not tolerate the cruel treatment of animals.”
Legislator William Spencer also explained his excitement at the bill’s passage.
“Our legislation was the product of a significant grassroots movement,” he said. “It is a strong local law that will inform our residents and it ensures that they will purchase pets that are healthy.”
Provisions of the legislation strengthen requirements for pet sales in Suffolk County. Under the new law, pet stores are prohibited from selling animals from breeders with violations from United States Department of Agriculture inspections. Additionally, all pets must be at least 8 weeks old when sold.
Other requirements include more detailed backgrounds of the animals, such as providing the pet’s origin, USDA records and other information at the request of the customer.
Any violations of such requirement are subject to a $500 fine to be enforced by the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
Pamela Green, the executive director of Kent Animal Shelter, was one advocate serving on Schneiderman’s subcommittee for the bill.
“Help is on the way for puppy mill pets,” she said. “We are grateful for County Executive Steve Bellone’s support and leadership on this issue, and the passage of this bill tells puppy mill industry that the writing’s on the wall.”
Other pet lovers from Suffolk County expressed equal enthusiasm for the new law. Vocal supports include members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Siberian Husky Club of New York and The Humane Society of the United States.
“Every long journey begins with the first step,” said Dori Scofield, the president of Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue. “This legislation is the first step toward ending puppy mill cruelty in Suffolk County.”