The infamous Puppy Mill Bill came up early last night but was shelved, or in government parlance, withdrawn.
In other words, they punted.
The proposed ban would prohibit the sale of dogs and cats that are sourced from breeders because of inhumane conditions. The bill would affect only one store in Red Bank, Bark Avenue Puppies.
The owner Gary Hager threatened legal action against the town if the bill was enacted.
The fight has been going on for months with various groups detailing the inhumane conditions that these animals are brought up in, including numerous violations that Hager’s shop has incurred.
Mayor Pasqual Menna remarks: “The ordinance has received a substantial amount of public interest, the council and its professionals have spent hours and hours in meetings, conferences, deliberations, reviewed with the Borough attorney…, the reality is that as we are sitting here now there is insufficient support for acting on the ordinance in one fashion or another. Therefore, at this point…. I like to entertain a motion to withdraw the ordinance.”
Councilwoman Kathleen Horgan related that she had studied the reports and background on Puppy Mills and stated that she “Personally has concluded that there is rampant abuse of the Federal Puppy Mill regulations and the New Jersey Pet Purchase Protection Act (PPA) does not end the bad practices of these so-called Puppy Mills,… and that the “PPA essentially fails to ensure that all dogs and cats sold are sold in the State are sold from reputable facilities. I’ve also concluded that the Borough does not have the resources, employees or framework in place to solve these issues…without spending a lot of tax dollars in litigation defending an outright ban or by creating a wholly new municipal office to regulate what is essentially one existing shop in our town… (and) this issue is best left for the Federal and State authorities to solve.”
Horgan then went on to recommend that they “…adopt a resolution on the ordinance… requesting that the Governor and State legislatures take action to either fix the PPA or enact a state-wide ban on the sale of Puppy Mill animals just Maryland and California have done.”
Councilwoman Horgan then read the resolution that requested “…at minimum, introduce legislation amending…to resolve the numerous problems within it…including but not limited to: disguised sourcing of animals, the lacking of information available to retail customers, the falsification of documents by industry participants, the Federal government’s refusal to make available to the public certain USDA inspection reports and the fact that the vast majority of disreputable commercial breeding facilities are located beyond the jurisdiction of the State of New Jersey.. and that Red Bank “hereby requests that the Governor and State legislatures consider a state-wide ban on the retail sale of certain dogs and cats.”