Greenburgh must enact a puppy mill ban
From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Greenburgh must enact a puppy mill ban

Letter as published on
February 28, 2020

Dear Editor:

Almost three years ago we asked the Town of Greenburgh to join other locales by enacting a puppy mill ban.

Based on the wealth of proof provided to Greenburgh, pet shops use adorable little puppies and kittens as a cover for cruel and shameless animal exploitation. Most residents of the town may never see or know the facts about this awful business, but there are more than 100 complaints on Yelp and the Better Business Bureau – some as recent as Feb. 20 – plus at least one pet shop earning a big glaring “failure” BBB rating, attesting to the fact that animals are produced under inhumane conditions and are miserably treated and victimized by area pet shops.

After immediately promising a ban, Greenburgh has since evaded, delayed, and mismanaged this effort, despite almost 300 similar bans enacted in various U.S. venues, despite seven pet shop bills already enacted in Westchester, and despite a Greenburgh pet shop actually being busted by the attorney general in May for selling animals “that required treatment for illnesses commonly associated with animals bred at puppy mills, such as kennel cough, giardia, distemper and parvovirus,” and for using puppy mills but telling the public their animals were “home raised.”

Some pet store owners claim they get their dogs from private breeders, but the huge number of dogs sold in pet shops – numbers offered by owners themselves – belie that claim. Private breeders could never supply such numbers nor would it be in a private breeders interest to sell their animals to pet shops rather than directly to the public. Moreover, the National Breeders Club’s Code of Ethics almost completely prohibits and discourages members from selling to pet stores.

Although they all brag about being “licensed,” most puppy mills are “licensed by the USDA,” even the especially awful ones used bythe Greenburgh store the A.G. busted – and their multiple violations for lack of veterinary care, filth, etc., didn’t get those licenses revoked.

Puppy mills were started by the government and remain entrenched in the USDA. But states and local venues can make a difference.

Yet despite evidence and the disgrace right in Greenburgh, town officials continue welcoming pet shops. No one on the town council even flinched when shown truly disturbing photos of common breeding equipment such as the “rape rack.”

“What about the ‘good’ ones?” Greenburgh asks as they prostrate themselves to pet shops. There are no good ones, not one. No one should kowtow to pet shops and their attorneys while animals are suffering.

Almost all forms of animal exploitation are done out of the public eye – displays of misery usually aren’t a big selling point. “Pedigree” animals wind up in shelters, too. People will still have the choice to get pedigrees from private breeders and breed rescue groups. But this effort is about the animals – who have no choice. And especially while millions of animals are killed in shelters yearly, decent people must put a stop to mass producing dogs and cats by the truckload as though they are dumpster trash, from tormented parents whose whole life is nothing more than being bred till exhaustion, who never know a kind word or friendly pat on the head.

Greenburgh needs to stop dodging decency. Town Supervisor Paul Feiner states he “abhors puppy mills.” Well it’s time to “be a hero and not a zero.” Greenburgh has a chance to effect change, to help the truly voiceless who feel pain and happiness just as we do, and love their babies just as we love ours. Feiner must be the leader in Greenburgh on this issue, and must speak up. Otherwise his are just hollow words in an empty suit.

Kiley Blackman
Animal Defenders of Westchester

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