Dec. 23, 2010 By Christian Murray
Several New York City council members want the city to take on a bigger role in regulating and investigating puppy mills– which has traditionally fallen under the purview of the state.
Queens councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who has introduced a bill calling for greater city authority, says that she wants to reduce the number of “puppy-mill” dogs sold at pet stores by introducing a New York City “puppy birth certificate.”
The certificate would state the birth, breed, origin, color and any conspicuous markings of any puppy bought in New York City. The certificates would be filed with the city Department of Health.
Crowley’s new resolution also calls for the creation a citywide database of “puppy-mill” free pet stores. To earn such a credential, pet shop owners would need to apply to the city for a certificate by establishing that they receive their dogs from reputable breeders that comply with all applicable humane treatment laws.
“If you’re going to bring a dog into your family, you should know where the dog is coming from,” Crowley said at a press conference.
Sunnyside pet store owner, Steve Simone of Pets Unlimited, had heard about the proposal but had no comment on it.
Crowley estimates that 90% of canines in pet stores are the product of horrific living conditions inside puppy mills. The ASPCA estimates that 60% of the dogs in New York pet stores come from puppy mills in Missouri.
“These rules are a step in the right direction,” said Raja Shah, the owner of Dog Guru, a Sunnyside dog-rescue operation. However, he said that people shouldn’t buy dogs from pet stores, period.
If someone wants a pure bred (non-rescue) dog, they should find a breeder themselves. He said consumers should contact dog associations or industry professionals who know who the legitimate breeders are out there.
Meanwhile, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. this week also introduced a measure that would ban dog owners from tethering their pets outside for longer than three hours in a 12-hour period.
He said animals are “harmed mentally and physically” by being restrained for excessive periods of time.
Shah is a supporter of the measure.
“I see people going into stores and leaving their dog outside in 20 degrees,” Shah said. “What are they thinking?”