What I’m about to say is hard to believe — but it’s true. Every once in a while, local, state (and even federal) lawmakers actually do something that makes sense.
In this case, lawmakers in the New York City suburbs — Westchester County, to be exact — are weighing the pros and cons of a so-called “puppy mill” law.
You can read all about it here. For now I will just highlight the key points.
As it currently stands, the new law would:
- Change current rules that “regulate animal facilities.”
- Create tougher regulations pertaining to health standards for breeders and pet stores that sell puppies.
- Ban any transactions involving puppies that were “raised in unhealthy and unsafe conditions.”
County Legislator Jim Maisano, a Republican driving the new legislation, sums it up this way:
“What we really want to do is impact the flow of puppy-mill dogs into Westchester. We want to stop it. So we’re raising the standards the Health Department will enforce to make sure (that), when dogs come into a pet dealer in Westchester County, that they’re not coming from the puppy mills.”
According to published reports, many communities in the county are already taking matters into their own hands. As a result, Mamaroneck, , New Rochelle, Mount Pleasant, Harrison, Yorktown, Rye Brook and Port Chester all have so-called “puppy mill” laws on the books.
Of course, there’s always another side of the story. So those who oppose the county’s efforts say the law currently being considered may have unintended consequences. Specifically, one pet shop owner says passage of the law as it now stands would harm his business by limiting where he can get dogs for his breeding program.
Animal advocates don’t buy that argument, however.
“Westchester is already on the map for making a statement against puppy-mill atrocities and, as a county, we can make that statement even larger,” said Dina Goren, who represents the Coalition for Legislative Action for Animals in the county. “We have the legal right and obligation to protect animals in our own community. Banning the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores altogether would do just that.”