By Matt Calamia
Soon after buying her new dog, Lorianne LaMarca-Pagano could tell something was wrong with the puppy.
When she visited a veterinarian in 2003, the dog — a Brussels griffon named Charlemagne — was diagnosed with parasites and a corneal ulcer, a sore that forms when a dog has lost layers of its cornea, both of which were treatable. But about six months later, LaMarca-Pagano “noticed a change in my pup.”
Charlemagne was diagnosed with kidney disease, high blood pressure and a heart murmur, which eventually led to LaMarca-Pagano having to euthanize him in January 2007 at just 3 years old.
His death led LaMarca-Pagano, an Amityville resident, to fulfill a mission of putting a stop to puppy mills — large-scale commercial dog breeding operations that oftentimes severely neglect their animals — and increasing standards in pet stores, which sometimes stock their inventory using puppy mills. LaMarca-Pagano said she purchased Charlemagne from a pet store in Amityville, which acquired her dog from a mill in Kansas.
After years of lobbying for her cause throughout New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Charlemagne’s Law on July 18, which goes into effect on Jan. 14, 2013. Under the legislation, any licensed pet dealer must follow new requirements, such as hiring a veterinarian to care for the animals at the facility — including weekends and holidays. The pet store owners must develop a program to respond to diseases and injuries, and increase exercise as well as vaccinate all its animals. The stores must also create an isolated area of their building for sick animals to prevent others from catching illnesses. Stores must also provide daily exercise for dogs, designate an employee to provide daily observation of all animals to judge their health and well-being, and not sell any animal that has been diagnosed with a congenital condition or contagious disease.
A pet store owner could lose his or her license by violating the new law.
Sen. Greg Ball (R,C-Patterson) and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Brooklyn) sponsored the legislation in the Senate and Assembly, respectively. Read More…