Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Friday to help protect animals by adopting more stringent laws to regulate pet dealers.
“The legislation announced today is a win for those individuals and communities across the state that have fought for the health and safety of animals under the care of pet dealers,” Cuomo said. “While existing state law will be upheld, today’s legislation will give support to the many local municipalities that want to ensure stronger safeguards are in place to protect the animals in their communities.”
The new law authorizes municipal governments to enact more stringent laws than those currently at the state level.
The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, and state Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo.
“With this new authority in hand, municipalities from Buffalo to New York City, the North Country to Long Island will be able to pass tough new laws to crack down on puppy mills and bad breeders who place profit above the health and safety of animals,” Rosenthal said.
Tedisco also expressed his support of Cuomo’s signing.
“The people did it,” he said. “Thanks to the hundreds of thousands of animal advocates, the governor has signed into law legislation to enable local governments to stop puppy mills and pet dealers like the one in Sprakers that are operating in immoral and unethical ways.”
On Tuesday, 41 dogs were removed from a Sprakers breeder in Montgomery County. State police charged Herbert Weich with a violation for allegedly not providing adequate shelter for his dogs. The seizure followed a social media outcry and what Weich refers to as “a witch hunt.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Friday it applauds Cuomo for enacting a measure to regulate pet dealers in New York.
“The puppy mill industry wanted to keep the state law unchanged because it allowed maximum profit and minimum accountability,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. “But with this law, we’ll be able to keep a closer eye on these operations, stop inhumane practices and undoubtedly save many lives.”
The state Department of Agriculture and Markets will continue to enforce existing state laws pertaining to animal care by pet dealers. Under this legislation, if a municipality chooses to adopt a more stringent local law, enforcement of the new law will be the sole responsibility of the municipality.
“For New Yorkers and animal lovers — and animals themselves — this is a huge and important win,” Bershadker said. “The ASPCA stands ready to assist local governments as they seek to enact and enforce tougher laws on pet stores and commercial breeders.”