Maine’s Convoluted Path to Statewide Ban

Maine is the third state In the US to ban puppy mill sales. Fourth in the world after the Australian state of Victoria.

The state allows puppy mill stores that were in operation in May 2019 to continue, but they cannot expand past the number of sales per year of the 2019 level.

Not many puppy stores in Maine. There’s this nightmare, but hopefully the only one. And perhaps protestors will shame them into closing.

LePageBoth houses of Maine’s legislature passed a bill prohibiting the sales of dogs and cats in 2015 while evil Governor Paul LePage sat on the Governor’s chair.

Had he signed the bill or passed it into law without signing, Maine’s would have been the first statewide ban in the world: the first in the US by 2 years (CA passed in late 2017) and beating out the first statewide ban in the world by a few months: Victoria, Australia, passed in the closing days of 2017.

Governors typically have 4 ways of dealing with a bill:

  1. Sign it into law
  2. Pass it into law without signing it
  3. Do nothing: do not sign and do not pass into law (next Gov could sign)
  4. Veto, effectively killing the bill

Monster Governor, Paul LePage, chose Door #3 and the bill languished.

ChrisieOh so reminiscent of (twin brother?) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie choosing Door #4 for his state even after an overwhelming passage in both houses in March of 2017.

In November 2019, a new Governor was elected by the good people of Maine. Gov. Janet Mills also sat on this and many other “no action” bills on her brand new desk for a full year until January 12, 2020, when she opted for Door #2: move the bill to law.

Gov. Janet Mills did not sign the bill, effectively saying she didn’t necessarily approve of the bill, but since it passed both houses she thought it should become public law.

Mills
Governor Janet T. Mills passed puppy mill store prohibition into law twelve months after taking office in January 2019.

Another blue state!

Other states are doing the same.

Read about them in Landslide of Statewide Bans if OR, CO, WI, MA, PA, ME, & NY Pass Pending Bills

Fairplay, CO: Ordinance 1, First of 2020

Fairplay, Colorado started the new year off right with the first known ban of the new decade, passed 1/6/2020.

Fairplay is a small town and the ordinance passed easily from an activist asking the council to do it last December. They said “Sure!” and here it is, signed, sealed and delivered. Would that all jurisdictions would go so smoothly.

Wales steps up the pace after BBC doc exposes more animal cruelty at Welsh puppy farms

The current flurry of bans across the UK was triggered by the condition of Lucy, a badly disfigured breeding female uncovered in a Welsh puppy mill.

Changing legislation is not a quick process, and nor should it be.  The correct procedures must be followed to ensure the development of sound, evidence-based, proportionate legislation aimed directly at optimising standards of animal welfare and encouraging responsible animal ownership.

 I have already committed to reviewing the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs)(Wales) Regulations 2014 and also made clear the value I see in banning third party sales of puppies and kittens if a ban could deliver the health and welfare standards I wish to see in Wales. Further urgent action is needed and the following actions have been undertaken this week:

CABINET WRITTEN STATEMENT: Dog Breeding in Wales

The BBC Wales Investigates documentary, Inside the UK’s Puppy Farm Capital and accompanying clip Wyre Davies is on the trail of the people behind the multi-million pound puppy industryis a blistering video essay on the horrors of puppy farms, mills or large-scale breeding ops, however you wish to call the despicable practice.

BBC Wales Investigates the people behind the multimillion-pound puppy industry. New owners can spend thousands of pounds on dogs, but what’s really going on inside licenced premises? Wyre Davies confronts the breeders, inspectors and vets who should be policing the trade.

BBC Wales Investigates

First year since 2016 where bans will be higher than previous year.

Nearly all years since the breakthrough 2009 passage in South Lake Tahoe that started the movement have had a higher number of bans than the previous year with exceptions in 2011, ’17 & ’18.

2019 broke that trend when Dillon, Colorado passed the 41st ban of 2019, besting 2018’s count by 1. Since, 2 more bans have rolled in before the holiday break.

Average bans per year just bumped to 33

We track average bans per year since the first activist ban targeting a puppy store was passed by the hard work of Dawn Armstrong, then Executive Director of South Lake Tahoe Humane Society, which no longer exists. 1

Dawn and the whole community were disgusted by the puppy store there, Brock’s Pups, run by the Franks family, grandfather and grandson, who also owned Lil’ Pups in Carson City and Pets R Us in Meadowood Mall, Reno.

The day Dawn got the ordinance passed, the language of which is still largely in use to this day, the Franks were lead out of Brocks’ Pups in handcuffs for 1). Drug trafficking to minors for which ol’ man Franks was sent up the river for 6 years; and, 2). Parole violations.

Since that fateful day that started a movement, 364 bans have been passed in total, 41 have been passed in 2019, which just bested the previous year, and our average bans per year popped from 32 to 33.

https://puppymillfree.us

We do have to note, however, we’re only at 40% of the bans passed in the single year 2016 and at just over 10% of the total bans passed. And so far, with the clock ticking to the end of the year, no statewide bans have yet been passed in 2019.

Good news, though: one COUNTRYWIDE ban passed this year, in England, with 2 more on the way in Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland may join soon, though no action has yet been taken.


1 Dawn Armstrong told us in 2013 when we interviewed her at the start of Puppy Mill Free Reno and our tracking sites Puppy Mill Free US and End Puppy Mills World, that she was able to retire in peace and tranquility now that her work was being duplicated not only all over her home state of California, but was finding passage throughout the US and into Canada.

When Ms. Armstrong left in 2013, Niki Congero was hired as Executive Director. We spoke with her on several occasions regarding animal welfare issues at the lake, but didn’t get a satisfactory response.

Three years later, news broke that Congero had been arrested for embezzlement of the South Lake Tahoe Humane Society, by running up charges to the limit of the credit line of the non-profit. That limit was $60,000. Much of it went to personal expenses, included a gambling jones for which the SLTHS footed the bill.

The organization was not able to recover. The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, a merger in and of itself, absorbed the SLT HS and now runs shelters all around the lake and the nearby High Sierra town of Truckee, California; which, by the way, passed the 124th ban in February 2016.

New Jersey Code Sweep

We’ve completed linking every jurisdiction to their online municipal code in New Jersey, the final state in our online municipal code linkage project.

Now that NJ is complete, we hold an unarguably definitive count of retail sales bans of various animals as site guests are able to link directly to local, state or province, or national legislation. It also means we have read every ordinance on the books and noted various details in our blog, in the jurisdictions pop-ups of our Google Map and our signature Jurisdictions roster.

Casualties

Westville

Though we see a copy of a 2015 ordinance on an unrelated non-governmental site, there is no mention of the restrictions anywhere in Westville’s online codebase, which “Includes legislation adopted through 06-13-2018.” There is nothing under New Laws, Notes, Legislation or Public Documents.

Union City

While we see an unsigned, undated, unassigned (no ordinance number) ordinance draft on a non-governmental site, we cannot find the ordinance anywhere else online. Union City online code “Includes legislation adopted through 04-05-2016.” The draft ordinance is purported to have been enacted in July 2016.

Their website points to this roster of 2016 ordinances that span from February to December. An Animal Code update for pet sales provisions is not included.

Is it Springfield or is it Springfield?

Neither fit the bill

Whether in Burlington or Union county, neither codebase includes the ordinance.

Union County’s Springfield code is only updated through December 31, 2015. The code does have a December 2017 Animal Code update, but it’s a prohibition of dogs in public buildings and nothing else. If the ordinance had passed in this time period, it would be seen nearby.

The Burlington County Springfield code base only Includes legislation adopted through 09-11-2013, but, the 12 documents in the New Laws section does not include the unsigned, undated ordinance draft we see on a non-governmental site, cited as Ordinance 2017-12. The updates cut off at 2017-08, so it’s impossible to confirm if the code as in effect.

Shamong

Shamong, NJ’s, code Includes legislation adopted through 12-04-2018. But there’s no retail sales prohibition on their books and nothing in their “New Laws” section.

Stays

Counties

Many counties in New Jersey do not have jurisdiction over business licensing or animal control. We count them nonetheless as they contain the following language in their resolutions, such as Mercer County’s Resolution 2015-550

Restrictions on the Sale of Animals

1A. A pet shop may only offer for sale those dogs and cats that the pet shop has obtained from or displays in cooperation with:

a). An animal care facility; or
b). An animal rescue organization

County web page, FREEHOLDER UNANIMOUSLY PASS ANTI PUPPY MILL RESOLUTION

New Jersey counties are indicated in our jurisdiction roster with a .

Deptford

Some organizations do not count Deptford as they enforcement of the resolution goes to the local county, but this language leaves us counting them in. Their intent is clear:

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Governing Body, in the Township of Deptford, County of Gloucester, State of New Jersey that pet shops in the Township of Deptford are prohibited from selling dogs or cats unless they obtain such dogs or cats from animal shelters or animal rescue organizations;

Resolution

Upon adoption by Ordinance of the Township of Deptford, in the County of Gloucester, enforcement of such ordinance shall be provided through the Department of Health & Human Services

Deptford has been added to our Resolutions of Support column for this language:

The Governing Body of the Township of Deptford, County of Gloucester, and State of New Jersey, hereby supports and urges the Gloucester County Municipalities, the New Jersey State Assembly, the members of the New Jersey Senate, the Governor of the State of New Jersey, and the New Jersey State League of Municipalities to approve and pass the bill for the reasons expressed herein

Pending Deletion

Bellmawr

Bellmawr council passed ordinance #12:14-15, first reading December of 2015, second, January 2016, directing an ordinance change at Chapter 137, Article V. The code base notes it has been updated through 2018, but the ordinance language is not included in the codification. No laws are indicated as pending. So why isn’t the code updated? A search for various keywords from the ordinance abstract do not find it inserted anywhere else.

Equally puzzling is the absence of Ordinance #12:14-15 which is not listed for ordinances in 2015 or 2016.

We’re keeping Bellmawr in due to verification of the second reading which makes an ordinance a formal law, but may delete if the code base isn’t updated by the end of the first month of next year, 31 January 2020.

Lastly, Alas…

Tavistock Country Club

Sadly, we’re removing Tavistock Country Club’s 9/2016 resolution from our count. It was always an outlier, but our argument was that apparently a board resolution was agendized and voted favorably on; Golf courses have pro shops and making sure dogs and cats aren’t sold there was neither infeasible nor frivolous; and we like to honor anytime activists’ hard work result in passage.

But, we don’t have access to the private club’s Board of Directors minutes, and therefore can’t verify the resolution online. That breaks our own rules of verification, so off it goes.

If we are ever able to view the resolution, we’ll pop it back up.

A Cats-Only Ordinance

Dateline: Oaklyn, New Jersey

Yes, you read that right. Suffering dogs be damned, cats are the only animal in this ban.

There were a number of ordinances aimed solely at ending dog sales, mostly in the 1952-2004 period in Florida, such as North Bay Village, Opa-L0cka and Lauderdale Lakes.

But as late as December 2015, Oaklyn, New Jersey passed a ban that reads as follows:

§ 55-10 Restrictions on sale of animals. 

A. A pet shop may offer for sale only those cats that the pet shop has obtained from or displays in cooperation with:

(1) An animal care facility; or
(2) An animal rescue organization.

B. A pet shop shall not offer for sale a cat that is younger than eight weeks old.

Municipal code

At first we thought this was an error of omission, but the definition block does not contain a definition for dogs and the cat sales provision is repeated.

What on Earth could the Alder People or the “Chosen Freeholders” be thinking?

It could be they just lifted the ban language from Winslow, NJ. Their ban passed a month later, but the ordinance may have been floating around. Winslow has separate codes for dogs and cats and therefore they have written the prohibition in 2 places, Chapter 127 Cats:

Part II: General Legislation
Chapter 127 Cats
Article II Sales of Cats


§ 127-13 Restrictions on sales of certain cats.

A. A pet shop may offer for sale only those cats that the pet shop has obtained from or displays in cooperation with:

(1) An animal care facility; or
(2) An animal rescue organization.


B. A pet shop shall not offer for sale a cat that is younger than eight (8) weeks old.

Added 3-22-16 by Ord. No. O-2016-008

Municipal code

And Chapter 126 Dogs:

Part II: General Legislation
Chapter 126 Dogs
Article III Kennels, Pet Shops, Shelters and Pounds

§ 126-28 Restrictions on sales of certain animals.

B. Restrictions on the sale of animals.

(1) A pet shop may offer for sale only those dogs that the pet shop has obtained from or displays in cooperation with:

(a) An animal care facility; or
(b) An animal rescue organization.

(2) A pet shop shall not offer for sale a dog that is younger than eight (8) weeks old.

Municipal code

Several other New Jersey boroughs have seperate ordinances for dogs and cats, including: Audubon Park and Mount Ephraim (dogs, cats).

We still count Oaklyn’s cats only sales prohibition as a ban, but it sure is a funny one.

Then again, any ban that does not include dogs, cats rabbits, ferrets, pot-bellied pigs, guinea pigs, long-lived birds, large reptiles, certain turtles and certain chicks is incomplete in our view.

The Nightmare that is Palm Beach County, FL’s “Ban”

To call it a ban, or not to call it a ban, that is the question which doesn’t have a simple answer.

No new stores can open in Palm Beach County. It’s a ban!

Any city in Palm Beach County can opt out. It’s not a ban!

All 8 puppy stores in the county can continue operating ad infinitum. Definitely not a ban!

Not only that, they can relocate their business if they want. Hardly a ban!

Not only that, they can SELL THEIR BUSINESS IF THEY WANT. What kind of a ban is that?

Palm Beach County Logo

Stores are under some strong restrictions, but you all know the drill: really hard to implement. In 2017 one of the stores (contemporary article says they are down to 7 stores) had to go before a judge for a cleanliness violation. $200 fine. That’s it.

Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners

This isn’t even a ban with strong restrictions, this is a ban of new stores, but the old ones can keep right on selling the offspring of tortured, sickly, feral, malnourished, uncared for, unsocialized, dogs who are serving life sentences in a rotting jailhouses for the crime of having been born a dog.

So we’re going to put Palm Beach County, Florida’s ordinance in its own category: Old Stores Welcome, New Stores Not.

Bottom line: someone could buy a store, move its location and still be welcome in Palm Beach County with arms wide open until the end of time.

Arrrgh!

Reading = Weeping

[ §(b) 13. ]

County Commissioners

Mount Pleasant, 2nd ban in NY, 3/2016, strengthens ban

Mamaroneck, New York, made history in February 2016 when the town council passed the first ban on the retail sales of dogs and cats in the state of New York:

The Village of Mamaroneck becomes the first municipality in New York to pass a ban on commercially-bred animals within its borders.

The usual pushback was attendant with the ban with one council member frightened of litigation from stores or even from the state which made it difficult for local jurisdictions to ban stores in 2000.

A 2000 state law that created the state licensing and inspection program for pet dealers prohibited municipal oversight of pet stores and home-based breeders. The state Agriculture and Markets Department had few inspectors and in the past five years levied penalties only in about 50 of 800 failed pet dealer inspections, [senior state director of ASPCA government relations for the Northeast, Bill] Ketzer said. “Local governments were kind of growing increasingly frustrated with their inability to protect themselves locally.”

The previous law didn’t cover wholesale pet sales from large-scale breeding facilities, also known as puppy mills, which is as important if not more so than regulating local pet stores, Ketzer said.

Westchester lawmakers want to combat ‘puppy mills’

But the rest of the council was having none of it, with the mayor stating,

When you’re a responsible elected official, you can’t be intimidated by what could happen.  You can’t govern scared. I have full confidence that this law will stand any appeal.

Mayor Norm Rosenblum

The ban was not challenged.

Later that year, New York Attorney General’s Office sent a letter to the state’s municipalities and county governments urging them to pass pet dealer/puppy mill regulations within their jurisdictions. Article.

Just one month later, in March 2016, Mount Pleasant, New York, passed a ban.

But recently, the Mount Pleasant town council wanted to amend their law by removing shelter and rescue language.

The ordinance when passed in 2016 read:

§ 84-1 Prohibition on sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell any live dog or cat in any pet store, retail business or other commercial establishment located in the Town of Mount Pleasant, unless the dog or cat was obtained from an animal shelter or a humane society located in the County of Westchester, or a nonprofit rescue and humane organization registered with the New York State Department of Agriculture.

B. For purposes of this section, a rescue and humane organization is defined as a New York State nonprofit corporation that is exempt from taxation under Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3), participates in early age spay/neuter of animals, complies with state and local laws regarding the humane treatment of animals, and whose mission and practice is, in whole or in significant part, the rescue and placement of dogs and/or cats.

Municipal code

As of September 2019, the ordinance reads:

§ 84-1 Prohibition on sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell any live dog or cat in any pet store, retail business or other commercial establishment located in the Town of Mount Pleasant.

Ordinance

Both our Google Map entry for Mount Pleasant and the Jurisdictions roster have been updated.