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Suffolk County (NY) Breeder Regulations to Be Discussed on April 29

(Wednesday, April 23, 2014)
The Suffolk County Legislature is expected to consider a resolution on Tuesday, April 29 that would place new requirements on those in the county who meet the state definition of “pet dealer”.

The AKC appreciates that the sponsor has shown a willingness to work with AKC and breeders and to amend the measure. Several amendments requested by the AKC and local club members have been incorporated into the latest version of the resolution, and the sponsor’s office has indicated that more amendments could be made prior to the public hearing on April 29.

Those who reside in Suffolk County are encouraged to contact the members of the Legislature prior to the April 29 hearing to express any comments you may have on the measure as amended.

Summary:

New York State law defines a “pet dealer” as one who sells or offers to sell 9 or more dogs/year. (Breeders who sell fewer than 25 dogs/year that are born or raised on their residential premises are exempt). A state law passed in 2013 allows local governments to further regulate those who meet this definition, which is why Suffolk County has brought forward this legislation.

The AKC supports several amendments that were made by the sponsor to address concerns. In particular, AKC supports the amendments that allows for puppies to be sold at 8 weeks of age (the original bill did not allow a dog to even be offered for sale before 14 weeks) and the removal of the requirement that only littermates could be housed together in a primary enclosure. These two changes, which will be considered at the April 29 hearing, are in the best interest of dogs, and AKC appreciates the sponsor’s willingness to incorporate these amendments into the resolution.

To view the latest draft of Resolution 1047, visit the County Legislature’s search page and type “1047” in the “Introductory Resolution Number” box. The AKC understands that more amendments may be offered this week.

Some questions still remain, including:

Problematic definitions and requirements that could impact home-based breeders.  These definitions do not adequately differentiate between a small home-based breeder and a brick-and-mortar pet shop and could therefore subject home-based breeders to unannounced inspections of their homes. 

Furthermore, the legislation assumes that all who meet the definition are USDA-licensed.  This is not correct and therefore could prevent responsible breeders from being in compliance with the law, or prevent some hobbyists and home-based breeders from selling puppies in Suffolk County.

Potential requirement for all pet dealers to have USDA license/inspections. Pet dealers would be required to provide their USDA license number and a copy of their most recent USDA inspection report. It is unclear how this provision would apply if the pet dealer is not licensed by USDA.

Mandating making sterilization services available. “Pet stores”, including hobby breeders that fall into the definition of “pet store”, must make these services available for animals sold “at an age at which such procedures may be performed safely”. The intent of this phrase is unclear. A better option is to require that pet stores provide consumers with scientific information about the pros and cons of sterilizing family pets.

What You Can Do:

The AKC Government Relations Department will provide more information on this measure as it becomes available. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.