City council will likely vote on “puppy mill” law at October 5 meeting

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The Riverhead Town board plans to vote on a proposal to ban the sale of commercially farmed dogs, cats and rabbits by pet stores, according to supervisor Yvette Aguiar, who said the public hearing was now closed.

The vote will likely take place at the board meeting on October 5.

The board heard many comments – for and against – during a Sept. 8 hearing on the proposal. Additional speakers addressed the council at Tuesday night’s meeting. Most comments on Tuesday were in favor of banning the sale of commercially farmed dogs, cats and rabbits by pet stores.

Supporters said it would break the “puppy mill pipeline.”

The Humane Society, an animal welfare organization, defines a puppy mill as “an inhumane high volume dog breeding facility that produces puppies for profit, ignoring the needs of puppies and their mothers.”

City attorney Bob Kozakiewicz previously said there were no recent events or incidents leading up to the proposal.

“This is something that we have been studying for some time in the code review,” he said. “We are aware that there has been a sort of movement in which other jurisdictions have passed similar legislation aimed at trying to put limits on the puppy mill scenario.”

In Tuesday’s meeting, Tina Kinksa of Lake Ronkonkoma said she was tired of seeing the same reports about people buying dogs who get sick.

She urged the board to adopt the proposal.

Jonane Cave of Nesconset said she hoped city council would not grant priority to existing pet stores. She said five states have approved similar laws and more are considering doing so.

City officials say there are only two pet stores in town that would be affected by the proposal.

Keith Lewin, the owner of Puppy Experience in Aquebogue, said during the hearing that it is already heavily regulated. Representatives of Sportsman’s Kennel in Calverton, the other pet store in Riverhead Town, did not attend the hearing.

Kerry Michael of Puppy Mill Free Long Island said the federal government is reducing inspections and only inspecting pet stores once a year.


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