New York State Could Crack Down on Puppy Mills

HOST INTRO: A group of New York lawmakers and animal activists are trying to gain support for a new law that would ban the sale of some animals from pet stores. Reporter Cynthia Betubiza tells us more.

AMBI SOUND: Sound of kids

BETUBIZA: Rain and wind couldn’t keep kids away from the window display of American Kennels.

AMBI SOUND: Sound of puppies:

BETUBIZA: Their faces were stuck to the glass.

Inside, rows of puppies  are for sale. Some fluffy, the odd pitbull. Some so tiny, you could fit them in the palm of your two hands.

NARRATION: Don Jones manages the store on the Upper East Side. He says people come as far away as Saudi Arabia to buy his puppies.

JONES: They love our animals because we are the A-rated store in the city of New York.

BETUBIZA: A new law may soon stop Jones from selling dogs. Last month, Members of the New York Senate introduced a bill that would ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits from pet stores. The bill ultimately seeks to stop puppy mills and negligent animal breeders.

The bill now  is in committee and lawmakers want to build support for it so that is passes through the Senate.

AMBI: CAMERA CLICKS, SOUND OF CONFERENCE

BETUBIZA: At a press conference this morning, animal rights activists and lawmakers came out swinging.

They slammed puppy mills for what they call horrific conditions.

John Goodwin is with the Humane Society.

GOODWIN: they can keep these ...in cages only 6 inches longer than their body. They can stand on wire their entire lives with their paws never touching a blade of grass, breed every heat cycle till their body wear out, and then they can be killed when they’re no longer producing a large number of puppies

BETUBIZA: Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal says people who buy cute puppies in the window often don’t know where they come from.

ROSENTHAL: if there were not a demand for those kinds of animals, to unaware people, then we would not have as many of them breed.

BETUBIZA: Back at American Kennels, Jones says that it’s unfair for legislation to target all pet stories in the state. He’s been getting his dogs from the same breeder for decades.

And he says the puppies in the store are well cared for.

JONES: On a weekly basis, our vet comes to our institution here and he examines our animals with vet-tech that’s on premises.

BETUBIZA: For some people, it’s as much an emotional issue as it is a legal one.

Jakeline Castanheira owns a 24-hour doggy day care on the Upper East Side.

CASTANHEIRA: they’re so [many] amazing, loving dogs out there, and I almost want to cry talking about it.

BETUBIZA: Castanheira says she urges all her clients to adopt a dog rather than buy one.

According to the ASPCA, about 670,000 dogs are euthanized each year because of overcrowded shelters.

OUTRO: For Columbia Radio News, Cynthia Betubiza

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