Law­mak­ers look to adopt rules gov­ern­ing pet sell­ers

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

A pub­lic hear­ing is sched­uled on a pro­posed law re­quir­ing pet sell­ers to check the an­i­mal abuse reg­istry be­fore an­i­mals are sold.

KINGSTON >> Ul­ster County law­mak­ers ex­pect to set a Dec. 13 pub­lic hear­ing on a pro­posed law re­quir­ing pet sell­ers to the check an­i­mal abuse reg­istry be­fore an­i­mals are sold.

The reg­u­la­tions are sched­uled to be on the county Leg­is­la­ture agenda dur­ing a meet­ing at 7 p.m. in the county of­fice build­ing at 244 Fair Street.

“It’s part of a two-part lo­cal law from last year,” said county Chair­man Ken Ronk, R-Wal­lkill.

“Part 1 was an an­i­mal abuse reg­istry,” he said. “If you’re con­victed of an an­i­mal abuse crime you go on this reg­istry for 15 years and you can’t buy a (cat or) dog. The op­er­a­tional part of it was this pet dealer li­cens­ing law, which would pro­hibit the pet deal­ers who have a li­cense from sell­ing a dog to some­body on the reg­istry.

“So they would have to check the reg­istry be­fore they sold the an­i­mal.”

Busi­nesses in­cluded in the law are stores or breed­ers that sell nine or more dogs or cats per cal­en­dar year or breed three or more lit­ters of dogs or cats.

Un­der the law if a pet seller “de­ter­mines that an in­di­vid­ual is a reg­is­tered an­i­mal abuser the pet seller shall not sell, ex­change or oth­er­wise trans­fer own­er­ship of a dog or cat to such in­di­vid­ual.”

The law also ad­dresses the min­i­mum stan­dards of care for an­i­mals be­ing kept by pet sell­ers, with con­di­tions ad­dressed for both in­door and out­door fa­cil­i­ties.

“They shall be de­signed to al­low for ef­fi­cient elim­i­na­tion of waste and wa­ter in or­der to keep the an­i­mal dry and pre­vent it from com­ing into con­tact with these sub­stances, ex­cept wa­ter for drink­ing pur­poses,” of­fi­cials wrote.

“If drains are used they shall be con­structed in a man­ner to min­i­mize foul odors and backup of sewage.”

Ronk said most of the reg­u­la­tions are based on state reg­u­la­tions.

“The New York state Leg­is­la­ture passed a law al­low­ing coun­ties to do a home rule like this and then be able to reg­u­late pet sell­ers lo­cally,” he said. “One of the is­sues that we’ve had with the reg­u­la­tions of pet sell­ers at the state level is a lack of proper in­spec­tions be­ing done by the New York state Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Mar­kets.

“I think it’s a lack of per­son­nel and that’s one of the rea­sons the state Leg­is­la­ture au­tho­rized coun­ties to do this.”

Ronk said county law­mak­ers have been work­ing to de­velop reg­u­la­tions that sat­is­fies peo­ple who have com­plained that pre­vi­ous ver­sions of the law did not ad­dress con­cerns of an­i­mal ad­vo­cate or pet sell­ers.

“We fi­nally have a prod­uct that the hobby breed­ers, the ones who come out against the law, can be happy with and the an­i­mal rights ac­tivists can be happy with,” he said. “We think it’s re­ally go­ing to pro­tect the an­i­mals that are be­ing bred in these fa­cil­i­ties.”

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