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Wayne Post
  • JOEL FREEDMAN: Keep puppy mills out of Ontario County

  • New York has laws prohibiting cruelty to animals. These laws should be applicable to dog breeders. If John Doe of Gorham shoved a pipe down his companion’s dog’s throat to destroy her vocal cords, he would be subject to arrest and prosecution. Why should commercial dog breeders be treated more leniently?

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  • In 2011, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, co-sponsored four bills (2122-B, 3431-A, 5246 and 8196) that would require more comfortable housing and flooring, proper temperature ranges and other basic standards of canine care, prohibit devocalization of dogs unless performed by veterinarians for medically necessary reasons and provide better oversight of breeders at commercial dog breeding facilities.
    The bills died in committee. I recently wrote to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver that “without your strong support for helping these victimized dogs, it is unlikely that any progress will be made.”
    Silver replied he “will continue advocating for the humane treatment of animals by supporting legislation that protects them from abuse and neglect — I believe it is morally indefensible to seriously restrict an animal’s ability to communicate if it is not medically necessary.”
    Sadly, too many other legislators don’t share the concerns of Kolb and Silver.
    New York has laws prohibiting cruelty to animals. These laws should be applicable to dog breeders. If John Doe of Gorham shoved a pipe down his companion’s dog’s throat to destroy her vocal cords, he would be subject to arrest and prosecution. Why should commercial dog breeders be treated more leniently?
    The Gorham Town Planning Board supports establishment of dog breeding facilities having a maximum of 20 breeding dogs. But smaller sized puppy mills are still puppy mills. If the town permits the puppy mills, countless numbers of dogs would undoubtedly be subjected to constant confinement in small cages with wire flooring, cage-related injuries, lack of veterinary care, fresh air or sunlight and other cruelties.
    Some conditions found in puppy mill dogs, including Giardia and various parasites, can also be contagious to humans.
    The breeding dogs would probably be cruelly “debarked.” Otherwise, how else will the puppy mills comply with Gorham’s anti-noise ordinance?
    Kathleen Summers, manager of the Humane Society of the United States Puppy Mills Campaign, wrote me: “I’m sure most New Yorkers would be appalled to know that current standards of care in New York’s commercial breeding facilities are so minimal.
    These standards may require structurally sound and clean cages, yet these are merely survival standards. I believe most New Yorkers would agree that dogs deserve regular veterinary care, exercise and protection from conditions that lead to constant discomfort and deprivation such as wire flooring and crowded, stacked cages. In addition, they deserve proper veterinary care and protection from being shot or killed when they can no longer produce enough puppies to satisfy the facility owners.”
    Most Gorham citizens, the Ontario County Humane Society and the Humane Society of Greater Rochester are also opposed to proposals to permit puppy mils in Gorham.
    Under the leadership of Gov. Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania enacted laws that protect puppy mill dogs from the worst abuses (I wish Gov. Andrew Cuomo would follow Rendell’s example).
    Page 2 of 2 - In her 2010 book, “Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills,” Carol Bradley observed that “breeders unwilling to abide by Pennsylvania’s tougher scrutiny had begun moving to Wisconsin and the Finger Lakes region of New York state where they could buy cheap farmland and resume business under much more lax regulations.”
    Yates County has been dubbed “the puppy mill capital of New York.” Commercial dog breeders now want to expand their enterprise into Ontario County. They need to know their puppy mills aren’t welcome here.
    Joel Freedman, of Canandaigua, chairs the public education committee of Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate New York.
     
     

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