Kramer Defends Proposed Sales Ban On Puppy And Kitten Mill Animals

Mayor Phil Kramer on March 15 defended a proposed ban on the sale of animals from puppy and kitten mills.

A ban on the sale in the township of animals bred in puppy and kitten mills is the “appropriate way to move,” Mayor Phil Kramer said on March 15.

The mayor was responding to criticism leveled by a township resident of a proposed ordinance amendment to do just that.

Scott Siegel told the council that he felt the proposed ban on mill-bred animals would be unfair to pet stores.

Siegel, an unsuccessful Township Council candidate in the 2015 election, said that the council should instead ensure that the animals are being treated well in the stores.

The proposed amendment – which will have a public hearing and final approval vote at the council’s March 28 meeting – would allow the sale of dogs and cats “that the pet shop has obtained from or displays in cooperation with: (1) An animal care facility; or (2) An animal rescue organization.”

The amendment also bans the sale of animals younger than 8 weeks old.

The ordinance amendment, as well as four other proposed ordinances, was supposed to have had its public hearing and final vote at the March 15 meeting. But township attorney Lou Rainone said that because the March 15 meeting was actually a postponed meeting that was advertised for March 14, and that the public hearing was advertised for March 14, the council should push the hearings to the next meeting.

Responding to Siegel, Kramer said that the proposed amendment is “not just about the pet shops. It is where they are getting their animals from.”

Kramer said that breeder dogs in some mills are treated badly, and that “we have no way of monitoring their treatment.”

“The current administration in Washington took a list of those puppy mill off their web site, so it’s difficult to determine if a pet store is using one of those mills.”

Kramer was referring to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in February removing a large online database of animal welfare reports.

Another reason for the amendment, Kramer said, is that inspection standards for puppy mills are weak.

“There are minimal standards and federal guidelines on how to inspect and what to inspect for,” he said. “I do think this is the appropriate way to move.”

State Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-20) has sponsored a bill banning the sale of puppy and kitten mill animals anywhere in the state. The bill, S3041, was approved by the state General Assembly and state Senate, and now awaits Gov. Chris Christie’s signature.

Lesniak has vowed an override vote if Christie vetoes the bill.

The township currently has no pet shops that sell dogs or cats, but Kramer has said that there is no telling if one would open in the future.


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