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Hempstead officials put pet store bill on hold

Town Hall Plaza in Hempstead is seen in

Town Hall Plaza in Hempstead is seen in this photo from Dec. 20, 2013. Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

A bill that would regulate pet shops to make life more comfortable for animals for sale in the Town of Hempstead has been put on hold after animal advocates and business owners raised concerns about the proposal.

Pet store owners and the Manhattan-based American Kennel Club contacted the board this week about the legislation, Hempstead Town Attorney Joseph Ra said at Tuesday's town board meeting.

An American Kennel Club letter sent to Hempstead officials Monday said the proposed ordinance included vague terms that could define home-based breeders as pet stores and set up road blocks that might interfere with residents' ability to find the best pet for their families.

Sheila Goffe, director of government relations for the American Kennel Club, said her biggest concern is the proposed requirement that pets be sterilized before they are sold.

Ra asked the board to postpone considering the bill until the Aug. 4 town meeting, "to give us more time to meet with the various groups in order to come up with a bill that's satisfactory to everyone," he said.

The bill that was to be introduced Tuesday was designed to protect potential pets from inhumane conditions, officials said.

The Hempstead bill, modeled after laws implemented in Babylon in 2011, would also require a minimum of 25 square feet of space per animal for puppies being displayed and 100 square feet of retail space for every pet in the store.

Pet shops also would need to be equipped with sprinklers and fire alarms, and owners would have to post a $500,000 bond, which would be forfeited if any of the zoning laws were violated.

Hempstead would be the first Nassau County town to implement such a law, said Diane Madden, of Hope for Hempstead shelter, which supports the bill.


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