Tag Archive | "Governor"

two rows of metal crates each have a dog peering out

How Much Longer is That Doggie in The Window Allowed? The “Puppy Mill Pipeline” Bill sits on Governor’s desk

A state bill banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in retail pet shops passed the Senate and Assembly in June but is yet to be signed by the governor. Several pet dealers in the Bronx, there are five licensed in total, now await the decision of whether the “Puppy Mill Pipeline Legislation” will become law. 

Marlene Jimenez, 31, owner of R&K Pet Shop in East Tremont, said she doesn’t know how she will change her business model if the law goes into effect. 

“The only hope I have is – I hope my store doesn’t go down. A lot of businesses are shutting down and that’s my scare,” Jimenez said.

“I’m already getting people used to it. We’re minimizing our orders of dogs because the breeders are already leaving, they’re going somewhere else,” she said, arguing that pet shops “don’t make money from selling merchandise.”

Eddie Diaz, General Manager at R&K noted, “The dogs always sell, regardless. They go really fast. It’s amazing, because this is a poor neighborhood, you’d be surprised by how many people come.” The dogs usually sell for somewhere between $1,500 and $2,000, depending on breed, and decreasing in price as they get older. 

Zoo-Rama, a Westchester Square pet shop, had more than 50 puppies for sale in its store on a day in September, making it one of the largest pet retailers in the Bronx. A Zoo-Rama employee said he believes the store will close if the bill goes into effect. 

Instead of banning the sale of these animals in stores, he would rather the government put more restrictions in place and close the pet shops that don’t abide.

Meanwhile, animal rights organizations including the New York State Animal Protection Federation, are championing the bill, pressuring Governor Kathy Hochul to sign.  

Looking for a dog with his partner on a Friday in September, Ivan Valerio, 30, explained that the reason that they chose to go to a pet shop was that “we got to interact with the pet.” 

Valerio and his partner petted and picked up the dog they were considering in a playpen in the center of the store. “Since we’re first time pet owners, I don’t know if we would consider shelter pets,” said Valerio, adding they would also consider buying a dog from a breeder.

When not being considered for purchase, the more than 50 dogs at Zoo-Rama are held in metal kennels  – sometimes two in one – with a blanket rolled up in the corner, leaving the kennels unlined so that the dogs’ excretions can fall through the gaps.

On the same afternoon, the dogs watched, slept, sipped their water or scratched at their cage. One black and white puppy ate the excrement off the bottom of his cage.

A young girl perused the kennels with her mother.

“No. No… you be quiet,” she said sternly to a barking dog.

Shelters and breeders, unlike pet shops, would not be affected by the ban on pet sales. The sale of animals from breeders to consumers would remain legal, as would adoption.

“The pet stores have the opportunity with this bill to rebrand as humane pet stores that care about the animals,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the NYSAPF. They could work together with shelters, for example, placing animals up for adoption in the storefront windows instead of ordering puppies. 

The NYSAPF sent over 2,500 postcards to the governor’s office, urging her to sign the bill, Post said. Hochul is reviewing the legislation, according to her press office. 

While the bill failed to pass the assembly in 2019 and 2020 in its previous versions, in June, it passed the New York Senate 57 in favor to 5 against.  

If the bill is signed by the Governor the act will go into effect one year after becoming law. 

A dog in a pet shop in the Bronx. This video may be upsetting to watch. Marleen Kaesebier for The Bronx Ink.

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African-American Group Defends Governor

As the political storm clouds grew more  intense over Gov. David Paterson on Thursday, a small group of African-American law enforcement officers gathered to defend him.

Michael Greys, co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, a group of court and police officers, was one of 10 members who stood outside the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office building in Harlem.

“All that has been said until now are pure allegations,” he said. “Nothing has been proven, so asking for his resignation is simply premature and unfair.”

The organization decided to  publicly defend Paterson who has faced mounting allegations after The New York Times reported that he intervened in a domestic abuse case involving a top aide. A few days later a state ethics panel accused the governor of lying about accepting free tickets to a World Series game.

“After more than 25 years of public service without a stain, all this sudden scrutiny, we just think it’s suspicious and outrageous,” Greys said.

Greys did not assign blame to any specific faction or individual for the controversy surrounding Paterson but said: “Some people want the state budget to go the way they want it to go. But we are not here to make allegations ourselves. All we are saying is that we should let the objective investigation follow its course and examine the facts.”

He added, “If by any chance these accusations turn out to be right, then we’d understand his being asked to step down.”

Last Friday, Paterson said he would not run for re-election because the accusations surrounding him were too much of a distraction from his mission to right the finances of New York State. “If he also wants to resign, based on these accusations, it’s his right, it’s his decision to make,” Greys said. “But it should not be forced on him.”

Noel Leader, another member of the organization, said that the members “don’t necessarily support Paterson” but that they support “the idea that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”

The members of the 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care  say the accusations  against Paterson don’t have to do with race. “If it’s a trap, it has to do with state politics, but all we are saying is that we don’t know anything yet and he shouldn’t be asked to resign!” Greys insisted. “Would you resign on mere allegations? No! Me Neither! Nobody would! And nobody should!”

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