Dear Porky and Buddy,
I was out shopping a few days ago with my granddaughters who are nuts (in a good way) about animals.
So, on a whim really, I took them into a pet store to see the puppies for sale. I would never actually buy a puppy from a pet store because I know about the problem of puppy mills, but I thought it would be fun for them.
Boy, was I wrong! There were 10 puppies in a pen in the store. They looked terrible, as though they all had colds or something with runny crusted eyes and runny noses and the pen was dirty and stinky.
I had no idea what to do, so I just hustled my granddaughters out of the store and told them we should not be around sick animals.
But what should I have done about the puppies? I keep thinking about them.
New York State has what is known as the Puppy Lemon Law.
Under Article 35-D of the General Business Law, if you purchase a sick dog or cat and a veterinarian certifies the animal as unfit within 14 days of a sale, you have the right to a refund, exchange or reimbursement of veterinary costs up to the cost of the pet.
You are not a purchaser, thank goodness, but the Department of Agriculture and Markets regulates pet dealers and takes complaints about observations of unhealthy conditions at pet stores and other pet dealers even if you did not purchase.
You can find the online complaint form right here: http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/petdealercomplain.html
There is also a printable form here that you can download and mail in: http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AI/small_animals/webcomplaintform0808.pdf
The New York State Attorney General also had an Animal Protection Initiative and takes and investigates complaints about pet stores and pet dealers. You can call toll free, (888) 697-3444.
The law is designed to safeguard the public and to ensure the humane treatment of dogs and cats by requiring pet dealers to guarantee the good health of any such animal sold by a pet dealer to a consumer.
A pet dealer is a pet store or breeder who engages in the sale of more than nine dogs or cats a year for profit to the public. Dealers must post a notice of consumer rights in a manner clearly visible, and at the time of sale, must also provide written notice of the same to the consumer.
Under “Article 26-A of the Agriculture and Markets Law pertaining to the licensing of pet dealers, they are also required to provide appropriate veterinary care to their “merchandise,” something that this pet store was apparently not doing.
You can find out the details of the Pet Lemon Law and the laws and regulations pertaining to the care of animals by pet dealers at http://www.agriculture.ny.gov/AI/small_animals.html
Irene, we really encourage you to make your observation known to both agencies by filing and calling. Concerned animal lovers like you are the best defense against sub-standard conditions leading to unhealthy pets in pet stores.
And if you would like to adopt a healthy pet that has received great vet care, go to www.oswegohumane.org.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Our office is at 265 W. First St., Oswego. Phone is 207-1070. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the website at www.oswegohumane.org.