NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Borough Council heard a request for banning pet stores from selling puppies and kittens during the public comments session at its Monday, May 22 meeting. Larry Cohen from the Humane Society had written a letter to the council earlier. He also attended the last council meeting and took the microphone to further convince the council to take preventive action to stop animal cruelty.
Cohen is volunteering as Union County Legislative Leader for the Humane Society of the United States. “My efforts have been primarily devoted to getting Union County and other New Jersey towns to pass ordinances banning the future retail sale of dogs or cats in pet stores in their towns. The goal is to dry up the demand for animals sourced from cruel “puppy mills,” which operate in other states like Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Texas and others,” Cohen said.
Cohen provided the council with a model ordinance – similar to that which has been approved by many New Jersey municipalities, including Fanwood, Scotch Plains and Roselle Park in Union County. The ordinance does not attempt to ban independent pet stores but it would prohibit the stores from selling puppies and kittens, often originating from the so called puppy and kitten mills which pay little attention to animal wellbeing.
Cohen is asking the borough council along with other Union County municipalities to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs and cats and support local animal rescue shelters. He pointed out that the nation’s two largest pet stores – PetSmart and Petco – do not sell dogs or cats, but instead organize rescued pet adoption events. Puppy mill pets often have health issues that consumers may not be aware of. Sadly, many of them end up in shelters, Cohen explained.
Cohen explained that under the existing state law hobby breeders may not sell their puppies to pet stores and the protective ordinance would not affect them.
The model ordinance recognizes the inhumane conditions of puppy and kitten mills, including over-breeding, inbreeding, lack of proper veterinary care and lack of adequate nutrition. The mill animals are often kept in small kennels preventing them from exercising and socializing.
The model ordinance also addresses the overpopulation of dogs and cats. Instead of purchasing a pet from a store, consumers could turn to adoption shelters for finding a pet. The model ordinance does not prohibit consumers from acquiring a pet from hobby breeders or breed specific rescue centers.