Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper has proposed a bill banning the sale of puppy mill dogs in Suffolk County pet stores. The bill is being co-sponsored by Legislator Edward Romaine. This is an important opportunity to help the victims of this shameful industry: the unfortunate animals living in torturous conditions in puppy mills.
Here is the proposed legislation:
"This Legislature hereby finds and determines that an estimated two million
puppies are purchased, sold or adopted each year, while 4 to 5 million unwanted dogs die in
shelters across America.
This Legislature also finds and determines that the vast majority of puppies sold
at retail pet stores come from puppy mills in the Midwest, South and portions of Pennsylvania.
This Legislature determines that the United States Department of Agriculture,
which provides minimal regulations on the care of animals that barely meet the animals’
subsistence needs, cannot meaningfully enforce their standards, as the Department is so large
and maintains less than 100 inspectors nationwide.
This Legislature finds that puppy mills are large commercial breeding businesses
that breed dogs like livestock and sell their offspring at five to six weeks of age, despite federal
regulations banning the sale of puppies less than eight weeks of age. Federal regulations on
many puppy mill practices exist, but are not consistently enforced, due to an insufficient number
This Legislature further finds and determines that female dogs are bred
immediately upon maturity and in each heat cycle thereafter until they are no longer able to
produce puppies. Once they are unable to produce, the mothers are culled, auctioned to other
mills, abandoned or killed.
This Legislature determines that conditions in puppy mills are stark: dogs are
crammed into small, unsanitary wire cages, frequently left in their own excrement, and are
unprotected from extreme temperature fluctuations.
This Legislature further determines that dogs languishing in puppy mills are
chronically undernourished; are not provided with veterinary care or socialization; and are at an
increased risk for serious health problems, including ailments caused by the harsh living
conditions. In addition, their puppies are at increased risk of genetic defects caused by
This Legislature also finds that puppies from puppy mills frequently exhibit health
problems which are caused by the harsh conditions and mistreatment of the mother dogs that
occurs in these mills. These problems can continue even after the puppies leave the horrible
conditions at a puppy mill.
This Legislature also determines that the American Kennel Club (“AKC”) focuses
solely on the registration of purebred puppies, but does not consider the condition under which
puppies are born, nor the care and treatment of their parents. The AKC does not verify that
puppies given their certification were bred by a responsible breeder and not at a puppy mill.
This Legislature also determines that Suffolk County has a responsibility to
promote animal welfare.
This Legislature further determines that a restriction on the retail sale of puppies
bred outside of Suffolk County will provide the dual benefits of increasing consumer awareness
of puppy mills and ensure that those puppies which are sold in Suffolk County are either bred
locally or are obtained from shelters or animal rescue organizations.
Therefore, the purpose of this law is to ban the retail sale of puppies from
breeders outside of Suffolk County."