When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo enacted a state law authorizing municipalities to crack down on unregulated pet dealers, Suffolk County legislators were quick to act ["Suffolk pet bill passes," News, June 4]. Local leaders passed an ordinance to regulate the sale of puppies in pet stores, making Suffolk County the first municipality to take advantage of the new state law.
The Suffolk ordinance prohibits pet stores from selling puppies that come from breeders with certain violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, relying on these standards as a model for addressing welfare concerns. This approach will keep some puppy mill animals out of Suffolk pet stores.
However, U.S. Department of Agriculture enforcement is weak, and dogs can still legally be kept in tiny, wire-floored cages, while female dogs can be bred at every heat cycle. This falls short of the goal of improving the lives of dogs.
While we commend Suffolk County for its efforts, there are more effective, targeted approaches to tackling this problem. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stands at the ready to help Suffolk and other localities enact a more comprehensive approach to keep puppy mill puppies out of New York pet stores.
Bill Ketzer, Manhattan
Editor's note: The writer is the senior state director for government relations for the ASPCA's Northeast region.