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Victory! New York Cracks Down on Puppy Mills

Victory! New York Cracks Down on Puppy Mills

At the beginning of January, a commercial breeder in Sprakers, N.Y., drew the ire of dog lovers for leaving dozens of small and medium sized dogs and puppies outside with nothing more than empty plastic barrels to keep warm as temperatures plummeted well below zero.

Numerous warnings about the dangers of leaving pets outside and pleas to bring them in when it’s getting as cold as it has been have been issued in multiple states, while dozens of stories about dogs either being rescued or freezing to death alone in the cold continue to circulate.

Photos of the dogs at Flat Creek Border Collies were spread around Facebook, and a firestorm ensued. Canine advocates called on local law enforcement to investigate complaints about the breeder. However, when they did investigate, neither police nor a veterinarian found anything in violation of New York State law or local codes thanks in large part to the vagueness of the state’s guidelines for the Minimum Standards of Animal Care, which state:

The temperature surrounding the animal shall be compatible with the health and well-being of the animal. Temperature shall be regulated to protect each animal from extremes and shall not be permitted to fall below ranges which would pose a health hazard to the animal.

Following calls to have the dogs rescued, the Lexus Project got involved and took the case to court. Since then most of the dogs have been removed and are being cared for by the Montgomery County SPCA, the New England Border Collie Rescue and Glen Highland Farm. The owner was allowed to keep puppies on the condition that they be brought inside if the temperature falls below 32 degrees, but things won’t be finalized until January 21 when everybody heads back to court and the owner answers to the charge of not providing adequate shelter – which comes with a maximum fine of a whopping $100.

Unfortunately, while the case in Sprakers isn’t unique, it did help highlight the need for more comprehensive laws regarding what is and isn’t acceptable care at the hands of commercial breeders who barely meet the minimums. While many continue to argue that dogs love winter and can live outside, extreme cold is just as dangerous for them as extreme heat, especially for small dogs and puppies, and they’re all still vulnerable to the risks of being left outside in freezing temperatures, including hypothermia and frostbite.

The good news is Governor Andrew Cuomo finally signed A.740a, dubbed the puppy mill bill, which will help crack down on large-scale commercial breeders in the state by granting counties and municipalities the ability to enact tougher regulations than the ones that exist at the state level to protect dogs raised in puppy mills.

“The legislation announced today is a win for those individuals and communities across the state that have fought for the health and safety of animals under the care of pet dealers,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “While existing state law will be upheld, today’s legislation will give support to the many local municipalities that want to ensure stronger safeguards are in place to protect the animals in their communities.”

The bill was sponsored by Assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal (D-New York) and Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo), and was passed by the legislature six months ago. A spokesman for the governor said the case in Sprakers didn’t have anything to do with Cuomo’s last minute signature, but it probably didn’t hurt.

The case in Sprakers, however, did inspire other lawmakers to step up and announce they will be taking further action on the issue. State Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R – Glenville), who co-sponsored the puppy mill bill, and Sen. Greg Ball (R – Paterson) announced they will be introducing another bill that will make the penalties for not providing adequate shelter even more harsh, with jail time and higher fines.

“We’re going to call for a felony for somebody who doesn’t provide appropriate shelter, water, and food,” Tedisco told NewsChannel 13. “Not a misdemeanor. Not a violation.”

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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8:53AM PDT on May 4, 2014

I LOVE SUCCESS STORIES! Congratulations! Please help me make my own success story and please sign and share my petition...

Thank you for caring!

7:25PM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

Thank you! :)

2:34AM PST on Mar 5, 2014

As one of (likely) many variables affecting this issue, please describe the effect magnitude Care2 had. Please provide quantifiable evidence.

12:29PM PST on Feb 22, 2014

Thank you!

5:25AM PST on Feb 18, 2014

Great news! THANK YOU ALL doing good!

5:29AM PST on Feb 11, 2014

So glad to hear about this... !!

9:32PM PST on Feb 2, 2014

Carol K said:
puppy mills need shut down altogether! if they want to breed a dog they should have to pay the city or county a whopping $500.00 for a breeding permit per dog- male or female! and allowed to breed that female one time per permit! They should not be allowed to own more than one female dog to breed. shots and vet care should be mandatory per dog prier to breeding permit qualification. Breeding & health records & history of each dog certifications also should be demanded per dog. the breeding bitch should be allowed to have puppies twice in her life and then be spayed by a county city veterinarian that the breeder must pay!

I say Carol has it SPOT ON!!!!!! AND to include that the breeder is investigated to see if they are in other areas or states as well..

7:44PM PST on Feb 1, 2014

great news!

2:24PM PST on Feb 1, 2014

This is a great improvement!! However it is still amazing to me that things like this would exist at all -- with thousands upon thousands of pets in shelters, why should mass breeding of even more dogs (often with an array of health problems from being kept in these horrid conditions) continue to run?

10:55AM PST on Feb 1, 2014


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