Animal activists and people who love adorable, healthy puppies got something to cheer about yesterday when Governor Cuomo signed the so-called "puppy mill bill", allowing local municipalities to regulate pet dealers.
The bill, passed by the State Legislature back in June, gives local governments the ability to strengthen and tighten state regulations that are already in place. Animal activists—like "Glee" star Lea Michele—and sponsors of the bill hope it will spawn strict laws cutting down on "puppy mills," large-scale commercial dog breeding enterprises that have been strongly criticized for decrepit conditions and poor treatment of their animals in favor of making money off them. "Hopefully there are going to be a lot of good local bills that prevent puppy mills from either gaining a foothold or operating in these localities,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, one of the bill's sponsors, told the Daily News. “This is a good step in the giant undertaking of getting rid of puppy mills, which only produce suffering.
Unsurprisingly the pet dealer industry opposed the bill, although the law states that pet dealer sales cannot be banned outright as long as the animals are being treated properly. There are also some critics who would prefer the state hire more inspectors to provide better oversight, rather than pile on regulations. But the ASPCA says they support the bill, which will "stop inhumane practices, and undoubtedly save many lives;" animal rights groups say puppy mill operators have a history of abusing their animals, and they often produce unhealthy dogs. According to the Humane Society of the United States, New York has some of the laxest laws regulating pet dealers, which attracts puppy mill operators.