Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement this week that he wants to strengthen the safety net for New Yorkers with disabilities ensures legislators will be busy through the June 21 end of the session. They should be mindful not to let other important initiatives, such as tightening regulations on New York’s dog-breeding operations, get lost in the shuffle.
As a recent Democrat and Chronicle watchdog report detailed, dog-breeding can be big business, but it also raises big concerns. “Puppy mills,” as critics call them, don’t always provide proper care and shelter for the hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dogs they house.
The issue came to the forefront locally this year when a Seneca County couple proposed expanding their operation and moving it to a 20-acre farm in Gorham, Ontario County. Their plans to house as many as 600 dogs generated widespread opposition, and led town officials to declare a one-year moratorium to give them time to review their laws.
New York’s dog-breeding industry is reasonably well regulated; still, animal-rights advocates say treatment of canines in large-scale facilities can range from unhealthy to abusive.
“‘Puppy Mills’ house dogs in shockingly poor conditions,” says the office of Hudson Valley state Sen. Greg Ball, who has introduced a wide-ranging bill to regulate the industry. “After their fertility wanes, these animals are often killed, abandoned or sold cheaply to another mill.”
Among the provisions of the legislation: Assurances of proper veterinarian care, new standards for housing and sanitation, upgraded licensing requirements, and bans against “devocalizing” dogs or selling them if they have congenital conditions or contagious diseases.
Last year, the Legislature approved same-sex marriage and a tax cap in its closing days, proving the era of coasting to summer recess in Albany is over. Lawmakers this year should make passage of dog-breeding regulations one of their late-session legislative priorities. (ARTICLE)