Thank you for your coverage of the pet store ordinance issue at the Springfield Township Committee meeting on 9/12/17 wherein an ordinance was unanimously adopted. My group, FAUN-NJ, has worked extensively on this issue at the local, county and state level together with the Humane Society of the United States and New Jersey Residents Against Puppy Mills.
I’d like to clarify for your readers that the claim by Furrylicious Pet Store owner, Cindy Knowles, that New Jersey Residents Against Puppy Mills “filed false complaints against New Jersey pet stores” is inaccurate and was designed to present a false sense of security to the local governing body about pet store compliance with New Jersey laws.
These are the facts:
Under New Jersey’s Pet Purchase Protection Act, pet stores are prohibited from sourcing puppies from breeders that are cited by the USDA for one direct (serious) violation and/or three or more (less serious) indirect violations for a two year period prior to obtaining the puppy for sale. The law also requires that pet stores provide their licensing town with a list of their breeders on a yearly basis. The 2015/2016 lists of breeders were obtained by the aforementioned advocacy groups and compared to the USDA database of breeder inspection reports last year. The results were disturbing: a significant number of pet stores were sourcing puppies from breeders with serious violations: i.e. dogs with eye and ear infections, tick infestations; progressive dental disease with dogs missing part of their jaw; food and water bowls contaminated with fecal material and algae and dogs/puppies found huddled and shivering in outdoor enclosures in sub-freezing temperatures. I could go on and on.
Based on the classification of the USDA violation and/or the number of violations, New Jersey Residents Against Puppy Mills filed complaints with the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs for failure to comply with the state’s sourcing requirements. In the particular case that Ms. Knowles referenced at the meeting on 9/12/17, a complaint was erroneously filed with the county. The county investigator was unable to investigate the complaint because she was told that the pet store owner had not retained the 2015/2016 records. As a result, the complaint has been referred to the state and we have confirmation that they are currently investigating this pet store and others.
I can assure you that the complaints filed by New Jersey Residents Against Puppy Mills and FAUN-NJ, last year, for the failure of New Jersey pet stores to comply with another aspect of the Pet Purchase Protection Act (the provision of breeder information to their customers), was investigated by the state and fines were issued to 26 out of 29 pet stores. I think this speaks to the diligent and accurate track record of these advocacy groups.
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