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Albany County legislators mull pet sellers regulations

Law would strengthen state rules, establish permitting and fines

Bill Ketzer, senior state legislative director for the ASPCA Northeast Region, talks on Tuesday, May 6, about the proposed law in Albany County regulating pet sellers and breeders.

Bill Ketzer, senior state legislative director for the ASPCA Northeast Region, talks on Tuesday, May 6, about the proposed law in Albany County regulating pet sellers and breeders. Photo by John Purcell.

— Two Albany County legislators have worked for months with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on developing tight regulations for pet sellers to curb inhumane conditions.

Legislators Gary Domalewicz, D-Albany, and Bryan Clehanan, D-Guilderland, on Tuesday, May 6, unveiled their proposed local law requiring the permitting of cat and dog sellers, along with regulating breeders. The bill would establish standards and allow for regular enforcement.

Both legislators touted the law as hopefully being the first such law statewide to be implemented. Clehanan said the law would stop “terrible conditions” animals face in the county and hopefully would spread throughout the state.

The proposed law would require anyone selling more than nine dogs or cats per year to obtain a permit, which costs $200 for those selling more than 25 annually and $100 for less than 25. Humane societies and animal protective associations are excluded from the law. Only seller and breeders of cats and dogs are regulated.

“Our local law will finally put strong regulation and supervision on scrupulous pet dealers, breeders and indifferent pet sellers,” Clehanan said. “There are too many pet breeders operating under the radar, and they keep and breed animals in cruel, unsafe and unhealthy conditions. All too often, the pet sellers, many of whom maintain their own unsanitary and unsafe conditions, turn a blind eye to the practices of the breeders they do business with.”

Last night, county legislatures approved holding a public hearing on the local law on Tuesday, May 27, at 7:15 p.m., in the Legislative Chambers at the county court.

Clehanan claimed 99 percent of puppies sold in pet stores from “puppy mills” and “nearly all” of such puppies come from a mother who spends her “entire life in a cage,” never receiving proper care.

“Nearly all of these puppies in pet stores arrive there with parasites, and over half generally have some kind of an illness of incubation of an illness,” Clehanan said. “These are real issues. … These are some of the most important things that I think we can do.”

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