Monday, August 01, 2011

Dog Federation of New York Announces Results of First Study of NY Pet Dealers

Strong Majority of Licensed Pet Stores and Breeders Comply
with Animal Welfare Mandates

New York, NY – August 1, 2011: The Dog Federation of New York (DFNY), a not-for-profit statewide coalition of individual dog owners and dog-related clubs and organizations committed to animal welfare, announced today completion of their first analysis of inspection records of licensed New York State pet stores and non-residential breeders referred to as “pet dealers” under state law. With a growing effort from radical animal rights activists in New York and nationally to permanently close all pet stores and submit dog and cat breeders to overly-burdensome regulation, the findings are of particular importance to New York’s elected officials. Copies of the study will be made available to public officials.

Because elected officials may have few facts and little more than Internet rumor on which to base their deliberations, the Dog Federation of New York will offer relevant sections of its database to Suffolk County legislators. Earlier this summer, Suffolk County considered a proposal sponsored by Legis. Jon Cooper which would have closed most pet stores in the county by prohibiting the retail sale of dogs under the age of one year. The proposal has since been withdrawn.

A key finding of the DFNY study of calendar year 2009 showed that during regular annual inspections statewide, very few infractions cited by inspectors involved the hands-on care of animals. Other than a failure to renew pet dealer licenses on time, a whopping 82.1% of inspections statewide identified no short-comings during regular annual inspections.

A “critical” violation with the potential to immediately impact the health or safety of animals was identified in 7.8% of annual inspections conducted of each pet dealer in New York State. Only one New York pet dealer was cited for more than one critical violation during a regular annual inspection in 2009.

"This study is an important first step in establishing a fact-based picture of licensed New York pet dealers, kennels and catteries. Our data provides real information for animal lovers and public officials who may be unfamiliar with requirements and levels of compliance,” commented Dog Federation of New York spokesperson Mahlon Goer. “While there were pet dealers with unacceptable conditions of care, and such facilities must be brought into compliance with the law immediately, we believe New Yorkers will be surprised with the generally high level of compliance with our laws designed to protect the welfare of animals held by pet dealers.”

The Dog Federation of New York obtained records from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) covering each of the 571 annual, “special” and re-inspections of pet dealers conducted by NYSDAM in 2009. Analysts examined each inspection report, tabulating identified strengths and weaknesses, levels of compliance with regulations designed to safeguard the health and safety of animals, and probing areas of apparent shortfall. Licensed pet dealers include pet stores and some dog and cat breeders selling animals directly to the public in New York State.

NYSDAM inspects licensed pet dealers at least once a year to assure compliance with state laws governing housing, sanitation, food and water, and veterinary care for animals in the care of pet dealers. In addition to regulations designed to safeguard the welfare of animals, New York pet dealers must also comply with requirements for record keeping and documentation, and provide their customers with consumer rights notices and other educational materials.

“Protecting the welfare of pets is a concern we all share, whether the animals reside in private homes, institutions such as shelters and rescues, or in the care of pet dealers. We hope our data will contribute to an informed understanding of the licensed, inspected New York pet dealers in our communities.”

About the Dog Federation of New York:

The Dog Federation of New York is a statewide coalition of dog clubs and organizations that serves the public interest by educating citizens and legislators on responsible dog ownership and advocating for strong, and humane dog-related legislation. The Dog Federation of New York welcomes all dog owners and dog-related organizations in New York.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Syracuse Animal Hospitals Receive Commendations from Dog Federation of New York

Syracuse Animal Hospitals Celebrated for Rescuing Kittens in Desperate Need

The Dog Federation of New York (DFNY) today issued letters of commendation to the staffs of the Fairmount Animal Hospital and the True Blue Animal Hospital of Syracuse. Employees at the two area veterinary facilities responded compassionately to the dire needs of abandoned kittens found nearby. Their hard work and commitment to the welfare of animals saved the lives of the young kittens apparently left alone in an area park.

Kittens as young as the ones rescued by the animal hospitals require round-the-clock attention and must be fed every three hours. They are given a special formula to compensate for the loss of their mother’s milk.

“On behalf of animal lovers everywhere, we want to express our gratitude to the staffs of the Fairmount and the True Blue Animal Hospitals,” commented DFNY spokesperson Mahlon Goer. “Without their dedicated efforts and commitment to animal welfare, these kittens would have died.”

“It is important to celebrate the compassion and commitment to animals we all share, whether we’re dog owners or cat fanciers,” she continued. “So often everyday pet owners and animal lovers don’t hesitate to respond to an animal in need, and they go unrecognized. It is a pleasure to commend the staffs at these animal hospitals, as well as the many volunteers and donors who support them in their efforts.”

Permanent homes have been found for some, but not all, of the kittens. People who would like to add a kitten to their families should contact the hospitals for further information.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Opposing the Proposed Ban on Retail Sale of Dogs in Suffolk County

an open letter to Suffolk County legislators

July 5, 2011

Hon. William J. Lindsay
Presiding Officer
Suffolk County Legislature
Smithtown, New York

Subject: IR 1545 – 2011 (Cooper) -- OPPOSE

Dear Legislator Lindsay:

The Dog Federation of New York is a coalition of individual dog owners and dog-related organizations committed to responsible ownership, with a membership that spans the State of New York. We are pet owners, dog trainers, animal control officers, breeders and exhibitors, and animal rescue volunteers. Our diverse membership is committed to helping New York legislators respond appropriately to the concerns we all share, including providing for the public’s health and safety while addressing concerns on animal welfare issues.

We write to express our opposition to the provisions of the above proposal, and to urge that the bill be held for further consideration. Based on misinformation and internet rumor, and backed by national animal extremist organizations, IR 1545-2011 would interfere with interstate commerce, violate state law pre-empting localities from regulating the sale of dogs, and essentially make Suffolk County responsible for the establishment of unfair trade practices.

Suffolk County is already saddled with a radical animal rights-driven and highly questionable “animal abuser” registry which, with no demonstrable effect on the prevention of crimes against animals, deprives Suffolk residents of their right to equal protection of the law and appears to unlawfully gift public monies generated pursuant to a public law to a private corporation.

With a stated goal of addressing unnecessary euthanasia in animal shelters across the country, IR 1545-2011 would further expose local residents and taxpayers to additional violations of their constitutional and civil rights, and the expense of defending the County in court when the law is inevitably challenged.

The best information available indicates that animals from pet stores rarely contribute to shelter populations. A study published by the National Council on Pet Population, whose membership includes the ASPCA, the American Humane Association and the American Veterinary Medicine Association, found that dogs purchased from pet stores constitute just 3.9% of shelter populations. Since this best estimate of pet store contribution to shelter populations is less than 4%, it follows that the power of this proposal to reduce shelter euthanasia rates is minimal at best. Furthermore, euthanasia rates have fallen dramatically since the mid-1970’s and continue to steadily decline without the intervention of radical proposals like IR 1545.

Far from focusing on its stated goal, the unsubstantiated and highly prejudicial rhetoric included in the proposal implies that every licensed, inspected and lawfully operated pet store in Suffolk County furthers the crime of cruelty to animals. IR 1545 has already discouraged potential employers from opening new businesses in Suffolk County, and it jeopardizes the existence of responsibly and humanely operated pet stores which have been landmarks in their community for many, many years.

Because the dynamics of animal shelter populations and related euthanasia statistics have been significantly misrepresented by IR 1545-2011, we have prepared the attached fact sheet .in which we also reference the comprehensive requirements placed on licensed dog breeders and retailers by both the USDA and the State of New York – requirements which are completely and conveniently ignored by the proposal.  [note:  click here for fact sheet]

To reiterate, the members of the Dog Federation of New York believe that all responsible owners of animals share a concern for the well being of pets and livestock. Under the law, we are all explicitly required to provide for their welfare and should be held accountable if we fail.

However, our concerns cannot drive us to uselessly surrender the protections of our civil liberties that the U. S. Constitution and the laws of the State of New York afford and shutter responsibly-operated businesses which enjoy the support of their customers and community.

Our publically elected officials are sworn to uphold our constitutional rights and protect us from violations of our civil liberties. We trust that Suffolk County’s legislators will join us in opposing IR 1545-2011.

Thank you for your consideration.

Additional note to readers
If you would also like to contact the Suffolk County legislators with your concerns about Leg. Cooper's IR1545-2011:
Text of the proposal:  click here
Contact info for legislators:  click here
DFNY press release:  click here
Fact sheet for legislators:  click here

Monday, June 27, 2011

Suffolk County Legislature Mulls Controversial Scheme to Ban Sale of Dogs by Retailers

For immediate release

Dog Federation Of New York rejects County Legislator Jon Cooper’s strategy as based on animal extremism, misinformation and distortion of facts

New York, NY:   The Dog Federation of New York (DFNY) is calling on dog owners throughout New York State to reject Suffolk County Legislator Jon Cooper’s plans to work with animal rights extremists to prohibit the sale of dogs by local retailers, violate the privacy of residential hobby breeders, and endanger well-managed small businesses providing pets to Suffolk County families. Cooper cites concerns regarding the number of animals euthanized in shelters across the country as motivation for his proposed local law.

According to comments published in the North Shore Sun, Cooper accuses every pet store in Suffolk County of obtaining dogs from abusive, illegally operated “puppymills.” The term “puppymill” is an emotionally-charged and prejudicial characterization used by animal extremists who oppose pet and animal ownership of any sort. Illegal and cruel conditions are implicit in the usage.

Mr. Cooper’s “proof” that the dogs offered for sale by small business owners in Suffolk County are the victims of cruelty hinges on the location of their birth. If the dog was born in Missouri, Mr. Cooper reasons that the dog is the product of abuse. If the dog was born in Suffolk County, it is not.

Dogs identified in the press as “puppymill dogs” are routinely imported into New York from distant locations and offered for sale to the public in large numbers by many shelters and animal rescues, including several in Suffolk County. The conditions of care provided to such animals are generally not subject to inspection by New York State or the USDA, and the interstate transport of such dogs is largely unregulated. Pet lovers were recently horrified to read of the deaths due to suffocation of dogs being transported from Georgia to New York for an event sponsored by Best Friends Pet Care of White Plains.

By contrast, pet stores licensed in New York State are inspected at least once a year for compliance with comprehensive standards of care, as are USDA-licensed dog breeders.

"We are deeply concerned about Leg. Cooper’s motives and his grasp of the facts. His association with extremist groups such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund is troubling," stated DFNY spokesperson Mahlon Goer.

DFNY responsible dog ownership
classes in Town of Huntington
The best information available indicates that dogs from pet stores rarely contribute to shelter populations. A study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy indicates that only 3.9% of dogs in shelters come from pet stores.

“In these hard times, if Leg. Cooper wants to join the Dog Federation of New York in working to address the problem of animals needlessly dying in shelters, his focus should be on increasing pet retention through proactive support for pet owners struggling with economic and other issues. Shutting down lawfully and responsibly operated small businesses doesn’t help anyone and it will not reduce shelter populations.”

“Sadly, Leg. Cooper is choosing to exploit the complex and difficult issue of shelter euthanasia to grab headlines and gain political support by using inflammatory statements and false, misleading information”. Ms. Goer further stated, “It is important that we further the goals of animal welfare with laws based on facts. Leg. Cooper consistently has used misinformation as a calculated means to heighten public fears and misunderstanding, along with employing provocative language and negative stereotypes."

“We want to make sure that New York remains the most dog-friendly place in the world”, said Ms. Goer. “Extreme proposals designed to punish small businesses and favor other suppliers of pets in the marketplace should never be a part of life in any county in New York.”

About the Dog Federation of New York

The Dog Federation of New York is a statewide coalition of dog clubs and organizations that serves the public interest by educating citizens and legislators on responsible dog ownership and advocating for strong, and humane dog-related legislation. The Dog Federation of New York welcomes all dog owners and dog-related organizations in New York. On the web at

Text of IR 1545-2011 (Cooper):  Click here

Contact information for Suffolk County legislatorsClick here

Attend the next public hearing on August 2!  for directions, click here

Tell the truth!  Fact sheet for Suffolk County legislators:  Click here

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dog Federation of NY Urges Repeal of NYC 10/2011
Prohibiting Humane Restraint of Animals

NYC law will impact city residents, events venues and visitors alike

Following news that on February 1, 2011 Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Int. 425A creating New York City Local Law 10/2011, the Dog Federation of New York calls upon dog and animal lovers everywhere to join DFNY in urging the City Council to set the ordinance aside in its entirety.

Backed by some of the most extreme animal rights organizations in the country, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.'s poorly considered, poorly drafted ordinance appears to criminalize a number of standard, ordinary practices exercised daily by caring and responsible pet and animal owners. Due to the vague language of the law, visitors and city residents alike will be unable to determine if the many prohibitions and limitations apply to them.

Among the new law's many flaws, it appears that families bringing their dog to the park for a picnic are prohibited from tying the dog's leash to a bench or picnic table while they enjoy their meal.

Because the language of the new law absolutely prohibits the use of "choke" collars for dogs under any circumstances, it jeopardizes the many purebred dog shows which take place each year in New York City, including the Westminster Kennel Club show at Madison Square Garden. Limitations on permissible restraint methods also threaten popular equestrian events, such as the Lipizzaner Stallion shows which also take place at Madison Square Garden.

Because the restrictions, limitations and prohibitions of standard and humane practices apply to all "animals", DFNY fears that circuses, rodeos -- possibly even the City's renowned Bronx Zoo -- may all be negatively impacted.

Local law 10/2011 empowers a host of unauthorized and unqualified individuals to enforce its prohibitions, which may entangle the city in expensive, unnecessary lawsuits.

Most bizarrely of all, the convoluted wording of the law may be interpreted as a prohibition against walking a leashed dog beyond the perimeters of the owner's property.

Many will remember Councilman Vallone's failed attempt to ban
"pit bulls" from the City of New York. PeTA, the radical animal rights organization that calls mothers who serve milk to their children "abusive" and whose members appeared at a Westminster Kennel Club show dressed in the white robes of the Ku Klux Klan, backed both Vallone's "pit bull" proposal and the new law, and testified in its favor.

Another key supporter was the Humane Society of the United States, an organization now under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service for excessive lobbying practices. A "humane" organization in name only, in 2008 HSUS expended less than one half of 1% of its budget on the hands-on care of animals in need. Patrick Kwan of HSUS testified in favor of the Councilman Vallone's proposal.

The best research available on the subject of tethering comes from Cornell University, and indicates that the proper tethering of dogs is a humane and responsible method of restraint. Neither the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) nor the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) support anti-tethering initiatives. DFNY urges dog and animal owners to exercise caution and adequate supervision, regardless of the restraint method they choose.

Int. 425 was hastily amended in the Committee on Health only three hours before it was passed by the City Council, giving the public no opportunity to review the new text. It appears that no representatives for responsible pet and animal owners and other stakeholders were notified or consulted during the drafting of the proposal. In reading the transcript of the minutes of the January 18th meeting during which this measure was passed, it is obvious from the comments of the council members that the proponents of this local law were somewhat disingenuous in their explanation of its effects and ramifications to their colleagues.

In these difficult times, in which so many New Yorkers struggle to keep their jobs and feed their families, the Dog Federation of New York deeply laments the waste of public funding involved in the consideration of Councilman Vallone's flawed proposal. The potential loss to the local economy if so many dog and other animal shows and events leave New York City is huge.

The members of the Dog Federation of New York believe that all responsible owners of animals share a concern for the well being of pets, work companions and livestock, and we support legislation and legislators that further the goals of animal welfare advocacy. However, by unreasonably restricting humane restraint through irresponsible language, it is clear that New York City's new local law will do far more harm than good.

We encourage caring pet and animal owners everywhere to contact the members of the New York City Council and Mayor Bloomberg to express their shock and deep concern, and to advocate a repeal of Local Law 10/2011 in its entirety.

UPDATE March 2, 2011: Councilman Vallone recently addressed one of DFNY's criticisms, although his comments gravely concern us. DFNY questions his understanding of the new law.

Our members prepared a more detailed analysis of New York City's deeply flawed new law. DFNY continues to urge NYC residents as well as dog and animal lovers everywhere to join us in asking the New York City Council to repeal 10/2011 in its entirety.