Legislators in Nassau County (NY) have successfully passed a bill to prohibit local breeders and retailers from selling puppies and kittens under the age of 8 weeks, as well as setting minimum sizes for cages. In addition, retailers must retain invoices from breeders for at least two years. Known as the “Nassau Pet Dealers and Pet Store Law,” the Republican-controlled legislature approved it by a 12-7 vote (primarily along party lines). Democrats had wanted to extend the ban on selling animals until they are 14 weeks.
Although it is similar to a law passed last year by adjoining Suffolk County, Nassau’s version will still allow breeders to sell animals to retailers even if they have been previously cited for violations by the United States Department of Agriculture, provided that they can prove the violations have been corrected. Critics, however, contend that this “loophole simply encourages puppy mills to stay in business.”
“It takes all the teeth out of a very good part of the bill,” complained Joseph Loria of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, an organization that helped to draft Suffolk County’s law.
However, Gary Rogers, volunteer coordinator for the prevention of cruelty of animals in Nassau told lawmakers that the provision was “put into the bill as an incentive for breeders and not there to give them a way out.” He also criticized those who wanted to hold off selling animals until they were older stating that “many puppies and kittens would end up missing the optimal time for socializing if they had to wait until they were 14 weeks old or more.
“If they are not socialized by then, they are probably never going to develop a good human bond,” he stated.
In the meantime, Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) emphasized that additional provisions could be added to the bill in the future.