Hearing on proposed pet breeder law slated
Ulster County lawmakers will once again hear from the public on a proposed local law that would require pet breeders to register with the county, more than a year after the proposal drew an outcry of opposition from hobby dog breeders across the county.
The Ulster County Legislature voted 21-1 Tuesday to set a public hearing on the proposal for 6:05 p.m. on Dec. 13.
Legislator Ronald Lapp, R-Accord, cast the lone dissenting vote. Legislator TJ Briggs, D-Ellenville was absent from Tuesday’s meeting. The measure is designed to keep puppy mills out of the county. When it was first proposed, however, many of the county’s dog breeders said the law would drive them out of business and do the animals more harm than good.
Originally, the law would have required any person who sold more than nine dogs or cats per year or more than one litter per year to obtain a no-cost permit from the county Department of Health, agree to minimum standards of care as outlined in the law and allow for routine inspections of their facility. The law also would require breeders to check the animal abuse registry to ensure a potential buyer isn’t listed.
Following the outcry by breeders, lawmakers reworked the measure to create a category of breeders known as “residential breeders,” who breed animals live in the home as opposed to kennels and who sell less fewer 15 dogs or cats per year. Those breeders would still have to obtain a permit and comply with minimum standards of care, but hey would not be subject to inspection by the county. Residential breeders who sell more than 15 animals a year would be subject to inspection only if a complaint against them is raised.
As with the original proposal, the revised law would require breeders to check the county’s animal abuse registry before selling a pet to a prospective buyer.
Ulster County Legislature Chairman Ken Ronk said the new proposed law is “a great compromise” that “everyone can live with (and) that’s going to protect some animals in Ulster County and protect the consumers who purchase animals in Ulster County.”
Ronk, R-Wallkill, said the new proposal also calls for the inspector to be a county employee, rather than an outside vendor.