NY Gov Signs Paulin Bill to Increase Pet Dealer Standards

puppy mill

Update July 19, 2012: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law the bill to raise standards of care for dogs and cats held by pet dealers or commercial dog and cat breeders in the state. For more on this, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below.

Update June 13, 2012: The Senate version of the pet dealer standards bill, S. 7268-A has now passed the New York state Senate. The bill has now passed both the Assembly and the Senate. For more on this bill, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below.

Update June 5, 2012: New York Assembly Bill 697-D has now passed the Assembly; the bill has been sent to the Senate Agriculture Committee. The Senate version, S. 7268-A, is sponsored by Sen. Greg Ball. For more on this bill, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below.

Original report: New York Assembly Bill 697-C, sponsored by Assembly Member Amy Paulin would enhance protections for dogs and cats in
New York commercial breeding facilities.

A. 697-C is set for a vote by the full Assembly. The Senate version, S. 7268 is sponsored by Sen. Greg Ball.

The current pet dealer law, New York Ag. & Mkts. Law Section 401, does not require regular veterinary care for dogs and
cats held in commercial breeding facilities or their puppies and kittens that are sold to the public.
The law only requires inoculations and one veterinary examination to detect “any medical
conditions …that adversely affect the health of the animal”. Other than requiring animals with
contagious diseases to be separated in some unspecified way from healthy dogs or cats, there is
no requirement for treatment for any illness, disease or other medical condition found during the
examination! Only animals returned by consumers for illness, disease or other medical or
congenital condition are required to receive “proper veterinary care”. Otherwise, it is up to the
pet dealer to obtain veterinary care “when necessary”. There is not even a requirement for an
isolation area where sick animals can be placed for recovery and to limit the spread of disease.

Under the current law, there is simply no feasible way for inspectors to determine if the animals
are receiving appropriate or even necessary veterinary care. The inspectors have no way of
knowing the health of the animals used for breeding or of their offspring that are sold to the
public.

Under A 697-C/S. 7268 appropriate and necessary veterinary care would be determined by a
veterinarian. The veterinarian would maintain a written program of veterinary care that would
include regularly scheduled visits. A veterinarian would work with pet dealers to implement
“appropriate methods to prevent, control, diagnose, and treat diseases and injuries”. A¬†veterinarian would help staff in (1) recognizing conditions that may require veterinary or other
care for the health and well-being of the animals, (2) handling of animals as may be required for
an illness, disease or other condition; and (3) providing pre-procedural and post-procedural care.
Pet dealers would be required to maintain an isolation area. There would be provision for
emergency and weekend or holiday care.

With the involvement of a veterinarian on an ongoing basis, a written program and regularly
scheduled visits, inspectors can easily determine whether animals are receiving appropriate
veterinary care.

The current law has no requirement for exercise. It is well-established exercise is essential for
the mental and physical health of dogs and cats. As you know, in commercial breeding facilities,
these animals are likely to be crowded into cages most, if not all, of the time. Living in this way
increases the likelihood of aggression, agitation, fear, and general poor health.

The current law also does not require any socialization with humans. It is well known that dogs,
in particular, are highly likely to be fearful and aggressive if they are not socialized at early ages.
This creates a tremendous risk to the public that buys these dogs.

Under A. 697-C/S. 7268, there would be a requirement for a written plan for exercise that is
approved by the attending veterinarian and the Department. The veterinarian and the inspectors
would have input into the plan to help ensure the dogs and cats actually receive exercise so
essential for their health and well-being.