Written by: Rob Ryser
SOMERS — Puppies raised in factory-like conditions would get better nutrition, better exercise and better veterinary care under a bill sponsored by state Sen. Greg Ball.
Ball, R-Patterson, picked a near-perfect mid-80s afternoon Saturday across from the Elephant Hotel to tell a couple dozen pet lovers and a few of their pets that better puppy care was a priority.
“There are those who say ‘Look we are in a crushing economy and people are losing their jobs,’” but we can chew gum and walk at the same time,” Ball told supporters during a 2 p.m. rally at Bailey Park in Somers. “In this crippling economy seniors fall through the cracks, victims of domestic violence fall through the cracks, and also our animals fall through the cracks because the network that is there is being taken away piece by piece by the lack of government funding.”
Ball’s bill would require pet dealers to have a veterinarian to care for animals at the breeding facility. It would also require programs to improve the animals’ nutrition, health and social development.
“This is an amazing start because it is going to help the consumers in the end,” said Lisa Giordano, 38, who owns five dogs and six cats with her husband in Mahopac. “This will help people get a healthy dog that is not coming from a puppy mill.”
Giordano, the volunteer chairwoman of Ball’s Animal Advisory Committee, was among the supporters at the news conference. She expressed hope that a bill could be signed by the governor as soon as the summer. Before that happens the Senate has to vote to approve the bill. The Assembly would also have to approve its version of the bill.
“It is amazing how hard it is even to get good things done in our state capitol,” Ball said as most of the dogs in attendance sat still on their leashes. “But I believe we are pushing hard enough to see it come to a vote.”
The situation as it stands now produces too many sick animals due to poor breeding conditions, advocates said Saturday.
“Many of the animals that come into the shelter were purchased from the pet store and are the products of puppy mills, and they come in unsocialized and physically sick,” said Marge Gottesman, a volunteer with the SPCA of Westchester in Briarcliff Manor. “This will require at least basic care and hygiene for these poor animals that are living in squalor and are subject to these terrible behavioral and health issues.” (ARTICLE)