Representatives of East End animal rescue groups including Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF), Kent Animal Shelter and the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation (SASF), gathered with likeminded local elected officials at ARF’s East Hampton adoption center on Friday to call on Governor Kathy Hochul to sign New York’s “Puppy Mill Pipeline” legislation (S.1130/A.4283) that would ban the sale of commercially raised dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores.
The legislation, which the New York State Legislature passed by a wide, bipartisan margin this spring, and has broad bipartisan support, is now on Governor Hochul’s desk for signature.
At the heart of the law is the fact that the majority of animals for sale in retail pet shops come from animal mills, known for their inhumane action. Sold animals can often be sick as a result of poor breeding and they will ultimately cost purchasers thousands in veterinary care. But beyond vet bills, of course, is the cost of treating animals so poorly.
The Puppy Mill Pipeline legislation would still allow retail pet stores to partner with area shelters and rescues to adopt animals, and New Yorkers could also go directly to breeders to find pets of a specific breed.
ARF Hamptons, Kent, and SASF say they are all in strong support of this bill.
“Every puppy mill survivor adopted from ARF over the years is a living protest against the cruelty and fraud of the retail pet trade whose practices are deliberately kept from the public,” says ARF’s Executive Director and CEO Scott Howe, adding, “ARF’s volunteers, adopters, and staff know firsthand the extent of abuse these animals bear and the damage caused by the inhumane practices that support the retail trade in pets.”
“The residents of NYS have spoken through their elected legislators in both houses. It is the will of the people that Governor Hochul sign this bill into law,” said Pam Green, Director of Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton.
Pat Deshong, Executive Director of Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation in Hampton Bays, is also urging the governor to sign this bill. “Puppy mills treat animals like cash crops, they are confined to squalid, overcrowded cages with minimal shelter from extreme weather and no choice but to sit and sleep in their own excrement,” she said.
“Animals suffer from malnutrition or starvation due to inadequate or unsanitary food and water. Why on earth would anyone want to promote this inhumane treatment of animals?,” Deshong added. “We are urging everyone to please adopt, not buy dogs or animals from these deplorable conditions. We are in the business of rescuing and rehabilitating animals and giving them the life they deserve. Please help us help them!” she continued in her plea. “Reach out to Governor Hochul and urge her to put an end to animals (being) subjected to these conditions today.”
New York State Senator Anthony Palumbo was also on hand to show his support of the bill, along with Thalia Olaya, Legislative Aide for Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., and East Hampton Town Deputy Supervisor Kathee Burke-Gonzalez.
Legislation (S.1130/A.4283), which passed the Assembly in June and the Senate in May, was sponsored by Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan and State Senator Michael Gianaris of Astoria.
Governor Hochul has until the end of the year to sign the bill into law.
The assembled rescue orgs and officials on Friday encourage New York residents to contact Governor Hochul and urge her to sign this legislation, which would help dogs, cats and rabbits suffering throughout the state and beyond.
Riverhead Puppy Mill Ban
The Town of Riverhead passed a similar law in October of last year also banning the sale of commercially (puppy mill) bred dogs, cats and rabbits. It was supposed to go into effect in January of this year, but was quickly stymied in court by a pair of lawsuits from local pet retailers — Sportsman’s Kennels in Manorville and Puppy Experience in Aquebogue — which argued the rules were overly restrictive and would put them out of business. A judge issued an order last November temporarily blocking the law from taking effect while the case is being considered.
It seems likely that lawsuits would also follow Hochul signing any such legislation, if she indeed chooses to back the popular Puppy Mill Pipeline bill.
To find rescued dogs and cats in need of adoption, visit the local shelters named above, including ARF Hamptons, arfhamptons.org; Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, southamptonanimalshelter.com; and Kent Animal Shelter, kentanimalshelter.com; among others.