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City Board unanimously approves ‘pet mill’ regulation

The Riverhead City Board on Tuesday accepted a regulation to ban the sale of commercially bred canines, cats and rabbits, finishing an effort to curb what some residents have known as an “inhumane” and “merciless” apply.

The regulation goals to interrupt the “pet mill pipeline” and to “promote animal welfare and encourage greatest practices within the breeding and buying of canines, cats and rabbits supplied for retail sale within the City of Riverhead,” based on the decision that was unanimously accepted on the City Board assembly.

“There are few instances when you’ve the chance to steer by instance,” stated Councilman Ken Rothwell, previous to casting his sure vote. “I really feel just like the State of New York will finally catch as much as us. However once you see an inhumane apply and we now have a possibility to take motion, I intend to do this.”

The regulation makes it illegal to promote these specific animals until they have been obtained from a city or county animal shelter, animal management company, a humane society or a nonprofit rescue group registered with the New York State Division of Agriculture. All pet outlets should keep a certificates of supply for every animal and have it accessible on the request of any official resembling a code enforcement officer, based on the decision.

Councilman Tim Hubbard stated the regulation is a “very long time coming and is the correct factor to do.”

“I believe all of us that sit up listed below are animal lovers and canine lovers specifically,” he stated.

Anybody in violation of the regulation is topic to a nice of $250-$750 for a primary offense, based on the decision. The nice rises to $500-$1,500 for a second offense. A 3rd offense is taken into account a misdemeanor with fines ranging between $1,000 and $2,500. Violations of separate animals could be prosecuted individually. The violations may end in jail time as properly, with as many as 15 days for a primary or second offense and as much as 30 days for a 3rd offense.

Councilwoman Catherine Kent stated any enterprise constructed on a mannequin of exploiting animals “ought to go away.”

“There are definitely loads of respected breeders on the market,” she stated.

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar added: “I by no means believed in generalizing folks. I believe this specific laws might point out that every one pet shops are pet mills and I’m not certain that’s the case or not. When laws is handed on the state and native ranges, everybody wants to verify it doesn’t battle or supersede legal guidelines.

“Nevertheless, I need to make it completely clear that anybody who abuses animals needs to be prosecuted to the total extent of the regulation.”

At a public listening to final month, supporters urged the board to move the regulation as a strategy to break the “pet mill pipeline.”

The Riverhead City Board at Tuesday’s assembly. (Credit score: Tim Gannon)

The board heard from a number of supporters of the regulation at Tuesday’s assembly as properly, together with one Sayville lady who described her expertise shopping for a sick canine from a pet retailer in Port Jefferson that she stated was bred in a pet mill.

Diane Madden, an animal advocate and co-founder of Hope for Hempstead Shelter, stated passing the regulation could be an instance for different municipalities to observe.

“There are such a lot of folks watching this board as a result of should you do that, to begin with, you’ll be a bunch of heroes within the animal welfare group,” she stated. “But additionally, we’re going to take what you do and wave it excessive and set you for instance of what will be executed for taxpayers.”

The Humane Society, an animal safety group, defines a pet mill as “an inhumane high-volume canine breeding facility that churns out puppies for revenue, ignoring the wants of the pups and their moms.”

Pet Expertise in Aquebogue and Sportsman’s Kennels in Manorville are the 2 principal retail institutions in Riverhead City the regulation would have an effect on. Keith Lewin, the proprietor of Pet Expertise in Aquebogue, stated on the listening to that he’s already closely regulated.

Helen Camlakides, the proprietor of Sportsman’s Kennels, defended her enterprise at Tuesday’s assembly and had a number of workers members together with her in help. She stated her enterprise isn’t a pet mill and inspired board members to go to the greater than six-acre web site. She stated they’ve been in enterprise for greater than 50 years and her enterprise has a assure that exceeds what the state mandates.

“We don’t promote puppies at eight weeks,” she stated. “We promote puppies three months on the earliest, most of them are a lot older.”

She stated the regulation would pressure residents to exit of state to buy canines and could be extra prone to get scammed.

After one speaker learn quite a lot of essential compliance points present in a November 2020 inspection report from the U.S. Division of Agriculture, Ms. Camlakides stated that occurred when the enterprise had a skeleton crew resulting from COVID-19 and veterinary notes weren’t hooked up to the canine’s contracts. She stated one black lab cited for having no hair was resulting from having given start not too long ago.

“We take great care of our puppies,” she stated.

After the vote, Ms. Camlakides returned to the rostrum and requested the board to choose “a good determine” in the event that they intend to attenuate the quantity she will breed.

“Simply don’t kick me out of enterprise 50 years later once I’m 85,” she stated.

The regulation permits for cats obtained by donation from a resident to be bought, nevertheless the pet retailer proprietor should keep a certificates of supply on file and notify the city in writing of any sale of a donated cat, based on the decision.