BROCKPORT, NY (WROC) – Puppy Mills in New York State is currently legal, but advocates argue that the basic requirements for these breeders are inhumane. Now New York relief organizations are fighting for the passage of a bill that would put a stop to this process.
If passed, NY’s Puppy Mill Bill (S1130/A4283) would prevent pet stores from selling dogs from puppy mills. According to rescue organizations, nearly all of the dogs in pet stores come from puppy mills, which means these stores are the breeder’s biggest customers.
Lisa Jackson co-founded Puppy Mill Rescue Team, a Brockport nonprofit that rescues dogs from puppy mills and finds them new homes.
The organization ships puppy mill dogs from Ohio to Brockport where they then connect them to foster homes and forever homes in the Rochester area. Jackson hosts events to raise money and awareness about puppy mills, a topic she says few people know about.
“Puppy mills, first of all, are not illegal. They are basically large-scale livestock facilities,” Jackson said, “The oversight and laws to protect how these mills are run are very, very poor.
In New York State, a dog’s crate must be six inches larger than the dog on all sides — a crate that Jackson says puppy mill dogs will live their whole lives if they don’t. are not rescued.
“They don’t need to have the plastic tray at the bottom of the crate. Dogs still live in puppy mills with wire floors and crates. They are only meant to be wired and that is simply because the Miller does not need to go into the cage to clean the cage. The feces go directly to the floor or to the cages below this cage,” Jackson said.
Another part of the state rules is a submitted exercise plan, but Jackson said there’s no oversight of that plan, which means the dogs don’t leave their crates very often.
“There’s no restriction on how many times a dog can be bred if it can produce puppies for 10 years, there will be bread for 10 years,” Jackson said.
Jackson said there are responsible breeders and suggests that if you’re looking to buy a puppy from a breeder rather than rescuing a dog, visit the property where the dog came from.
“See this dog’s parents, see where these dogs are housed, the status of other dogs on the property,” Jackson said.
Many puppy mills are USDA inspected, but Jackson said the minimum requirements for these dogs are so low it’s inhumane.
For the past few years, Jackson has worked with relief organizations across the state, advocating for the passage of Bills S1130 and A4283. This would put an end to puppy mills being able to sell dogs to their biggest customers: pet stores.
“It does not ban puppy mills. It’s far in the future. Breeders This bill does not affect breeders who sell directly to the public. It maintains the pipeline of dogs shipped from puppy mills to pet stores and protects many people. This makes a small dent in the puppy mill industry. However, this is a small dent, the pet store industry in New York State is estimated to be a $78 million industry and the puppies sold in these stores only account for about 3%. So this bill would protect dogs from puppy mills, but it also protects the consumer in a very broad way,” Jackson said.
Jackson said that with these dogs being so poorly cared for in the end, it can lead to an even higher price tag and commitment.
“The dogs are not from the local community as one might think. There is a trail of evidence that they are shipped from puppy mills in the Midwest, which is huge. Sometimes they get these dogs for as little as $50 and they turn around and sell them for thousands. What happens is that these dogs often arrive sick. But the disease can be hidden and flare up about a week later. And by then the consumer has already paid thousands of dollars, fallen in love with their dog who now may need thousands of dollars worth of veterinary care even if he were to survive,” Jackson said.
The bill has passed the senate and assembly codes committee, but still needs to pass the assembly rules committee, the entire assembly, and then be signed by the governor.
“There are not many legislative days left. So it’s really important that people reach out, we can’t always assume other people are going to make the call, our democratic process means our lawmakers need to hear us out,” Jackson said.
The bill still needs two more sponsors on the Rules Committee to push it through to the plenary. Western New York area representatives who did not sponsor the bill include Stephen Hawley of Brockport and Joseph Giglio of Buffalo, who both voted ‘no’ when the bill got this far these last years.
“There are no immediate pet stores selling puppies in our area here. We have local politicians not co-sponsoring this bill, saying it’s because it’s going to hurt business. But it’s not going to affect their business here. This is going to hit business in the downstate where there are many, many pet stores in operation. New York State is said to have one of the largest numbers of pet stores selling puppies in the United States,” Jackson said.
News 8 has reached out to both Assembly members for comment on the bill. We haven’t heard from MP Hawley yet. Deputy Giglio chose not to comment.
The Jackson’s Puppy Mill rescue team held an event last weekend and collected more than 100 letters that were sent to members of the Assembly who have the opportunity to vote for the bill. She said they use these events to raise awareness and funds to manage their transportation and pay the dogs’ medical bills.
Updates on the bill’s progress can be found here, while Jackson’s rescue organization can be followed here.