Massapequa Post

Pets, Pets, Pets



We have never been this close to banning puppy mills from supplying pet stores in New York State. Three previous years, attempts to do so have been unsuccessful. But on June 3rd, the NYS Assembly overwhelmingly passed the bill by a vote of 133 yea to 16 nay. The NYS Senate had already passed their companion bill.

It now heads to Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk. If signed into law, New York will become the sixth state to prohibit cruelly bred puppies, kittens and rabbits from being sold in retail stores. “The bill still needs the governor’s signature, please be polite in voicing your support,” said Gary Rogers, director of Nassau SPCA.

Since 2019, the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill has been championed by Assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens). This year the bill had over 90 NYS legislative co-sponsors.

Three parts to the Pet Sales Ban bill:



1) Prohibiting the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits by retail pet stores;

2) Authorizing space in the stores to showcase pets for adoption from shelters and humane Organizations;

3) Disallowing nonprofit status to previously licensed pet dealers who are “puppy- laundering,” which means they are misrepresenting millers’ pets as “rescues.”

The current retail model of mills supplying retail stores withlive” merchandise is inhumane for many reasons that bear repeating:

1) No responsible breeder sells puppies to stores. Despite what the manager says about local or “top notch” puppies, breeders who care about canine welfare would never be so removed in the placement of their pups. Responsible breeders screen for genetic flaws, educate and interview potential owners, sell with spay/neuter contracts and state they will take their pups back, if need be, for the lifetime of their dogs. The price of a well-bred dog from verified, documented, champion lines can be less than a poor quality pet store pup.

Pet store employees know zilch about individual breeds; they are only schooled in the hard sell. They leave naïve customers in a room with an adorable puppy. If buyers try to return the pup a day later, all they can get is store credit for a $3,000+ pup purchased impulsively.

2) Pup’s genetic background is an unknown. When you buy from a store, you are spending a bundle on a pup whose parents are a mystery. Since the poor parents are probably puppy mill stock, mostly from the Amish, Midwest or Eastern Europe, you have no proof the pup is cleared of genetic defects with OFA x-rays of hips and elbows, tests for clotting disorders, or screenings for PRA (a type of blindness). Responsible breeders do costly tests because they care about their pups and about improving their breed.

Stores care only about big bucks. No store tracks liver shunts or other flaws to breed these defects out of their lines. Meanwhile, breed parent clubs contribute huge sums of money to veterinary studies trying to find and fix genetic problems in specific breeds.

3) Pup’s health is not guaranteed despite what your receipt says. Chances are your store pup and his parents missed out on routine medical care. At crowded mills, pups are exposed to diseases when nursed alongside hundreds more, taken from their mothers too early and shipped all over the US. Toy breed pups in transit often succumb to hypoglycemia. Puppies with pneumonia or chronic URIs languish in the back of the store, coughing out of sight. A few survive; some are sent back to brokers for refunds (where they’re usually euthanized) when they grow too big for the store to make a profit.

Your guarantee works like a trade-in, but you didn’t buy a car. Usually, the family gets attached to their pup that’s quite ill. When they find out how much treatment will cost, they take the dog back to have their guarantee honored. The store offers a “healthy” pup as a substitute; the original one gets shipped back to the puppy mill. Many buyers won’t agree to that so they are stuck with high vet bills even if their sick puppy dies.

4) Pups miss out on crucial early socialization. Experiences during the first 12 weeks are critical in shaping a pup’s social skills. Pups need to be desensitized to varied people, settings and noises. Behaviorists emphasize that pups separated from littermates before eight weeks old do not learn proper body language or etiquette, and often exhibit behavior issues later. Store puppies have a small saleable window of “cuteness,” so brokers rip them from their moms too young.

5) Pedigree papers can be fictitious. Pet store pups tend to be poor representations of their breed. Their size may stray from the accepted standard. Some stores or millers print their own pedigree papers, without registration numbers or birth dates of ancestors. Even AKC papers are not a health guarantee. Reputable breeders usually put titles, performance and show on their dogs. They can show ‘n’ tell the family tree. They know the grandparents’ temperaments and their causes of death. “Designer dogs” are mixes, not new breeds.

6) Puppy mill mother dogs are breeding machines. The abuses of puppy mills are hidden from the public. A single factory dog farm might have hundreds cramped in substandard conditions. Females are bred at their first heat and every heat after that until they can’t reproduce any more – typically around six or seven years old. Then they are dumped, sold at auction or killed.

7) Puppy mills deal in volume and minimize expenses to maximize profits. Matted breeders in puppy mills are kept in cages. Millers skimp on hygiene and nutrition. Teeth rot without dental care. Dogs lose limbs because cramped conditions spark fights, or legs are caught in wire mesh.

Some millers use “red door feeders.” These hold seven days’ worth of kibble. Workers only have to enter the building once a week. Puppy mill dogs don’t get human interaction when fed. Many live their whole lives never being caressed, touching grass or seeing sunshine.

About Pammy Sue the Puppy Mill poster dog: In 2015, Pammy Sue, a young Shihtzu breeder at a KY puppy mill, came to Last Hope because she had a badly mangled leg, probably caught in her cage. The mill sent her to a shelter to be put down, and that shelter had connections with our KY partner shelter. Her broken leg was a blessing in disguise because without that injury she would have spent her entire life as a prisoner until she couldn’t produce pups anymore.

Instead, Pammy Sue had complex surgical repair via AMC to the Rescue in NYC, has a charmed life as a pet and is a Last Hope ambassadog teaching kids about the abuses of puppy mills.

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