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HELP NEEDED: The Manasquan Borough (Monmouth Co. New Jersey) has agreed to introduce an ordinance banning the retail sale of puppies in that township. You can support this effort by e-mailing the Mayor of Manasquan before AUGUST 6th. email@example.com. SAMPLE LETTER: Please support a ban of retail puppy sales in pet stores in the town of Manasquan. This would make the community members very proud, aid helpless animals and protect consumers. (You do not have to include your town in the e-mail, but if you live in Manasquan, please be sure to).
At the Municipal Building of Brick Township, NJ, The sun set on another day at the Jersey Shore…but it really wasn’t just another day. On this early Tuesday evening, July 10th, the Brick Township Council was ready to vote on a proposal that would ban retail establishments from selling puppies.
Earlier in the year, a shop that was selling sick and neglected puppies had been successfully shut down. Coincidentally, the man who co-owned that establishment, Nat Sladkin, was due in court the following day facing several counts of animal abuse.
Sitting behind me at the council meeting was Janice Fisher, her daughter Courtney, and others who had worked so hard to make this ban a reality (maybe). As the meeting drew on, Janice leaned forward and apologized that I had to sit through the discussion of so many unrelated issues. I told her I found the meeting interesting. But I thought, here I am in an air-conditioned room, just sitting and listening in comfort, a far cry from all the hours these dedicated animal-lovers spent in the cold, snow, wind and summer heat carrying signs to bring attention to their cause. And I thought about all the poor dogs and pups that were at that very moment languishing in discomfort and neglect in so many puppy mills across the country. I was just sitting there taking notes.
And then the big moment came. It was time to vote. I could sense the anticipation and nerves of all who had worked so hard on this. The public was invited to speak on the issue just before the vote took place. A man and a woman spoke with Service Dogs in tow followed by a representative from the local chapter of the Humane Society. Although I am not a fan of public speaking, I even got up and said a few words. I could tell by the expressions on the council member’s faces that they were on the side of the dogs.
Then Janice Fisher addressed the Council. She spoke of how members of our state senate were considering measures that would ban the retail sale of puppies in all cities and towns of New Jersey She also acknowledged that the neighboring Borough of Point Pleasant had successfully voted to ban puppy shops only a week earlier. Would Brick Township be next?
Before the vote was taken, each council member spoke. They shared how much they had learned through this process, and how people throughout the nation had contacted them. One had actually prosecuted cases involving dog abuse and many spoke about how important dogs were to them personally.
And then the vote was delivered… Seven “Ayes” rang out and Brick Township became the second township on the east coast (excluding Florida) to make it official; while the existing puppy retailer would be grandfathered in, no new shop of its kind would be allowed to open in Brick, NJ.
Congratulations to the Fisher family, the army of volunteers and professionals that helped bring this about, the members of the Brick Township Council and the state of New Jersey. Two years ago, Brick Township began their annual tradition of Dog Fest each September and was declared a National Dog Week Community by Brick’s Mayor Acropolis during its first observance.
“That the people have the power to redeem the work of fools…” Patti Smith
On Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 7:00 PM, the Brick Township council will vote on an ordinance to ban the sale of puppies in pet stores in their community. It is up to us to attend that meeting to show our support for adopting this ordinance. (details at bottom of post)
Early this year, I posted about the Community of Brick Township’s (NJ) efforts to ban the retail sale of dogs and cats. Since then, the neighboring town of Pt. Pleasant has successfully accomplished this so now let’s see if Brick (where I have resided for 15 years) can join them. I hope that by the time Brick’s Third Annual Dog Fest occurs in late September, we can join the list of American cities and towns that have also done so! I just want to say that I do know many who have purchased their dogs at these shops, but I know that many really did not understand the reality of how that purchase affected the welfare of other dogs…and their humans. When I write on this topic, I do not mean to diminish their dogs or their love for their pets. But now they know better…
One of the many individuals who has worked so hard to see this happen is Janice Fisher. I asked Janice why this is so important and her answer follows.
But first, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce our new National Dog Week Pet Health Consultant, Dr. Adam Christman who is a native of this community and practices at Brick Town Veterinary Hospital. He is also the staff veterinarian for the Jersey Shore Animal Center (JSAC). As NDW 2012 nears, you will learn more about Dr. Christman. But for now you should know that he was very instrumental in the rescue of those thirty-nine sick and neglected puppies rescued from a retail establishment in Brick Township earlier this year (it has since been closed)…and even became the caring owner of one those little puppies. As you recall, last year, this honor went to Los Angeles Veterinarian and TeddyHilton Blogger, Dr. Patrick Mahaney who has remained a great friend to National Dog Week. Welcome Adam!
Here is the very intelligent and thoughtful post from Janice Fisher…
Almost everyone loves a puppy. Who doesn’t delight in the thought of big brown eyes, a wagging tail, wet kisses and soft snuggles? A puppy brings joy, laughter and the ability to bond with a furry living being that is not human.
There is, however, a problem with how we obtain a puppy. We can rescue/adopt or purchase a quality puppy from a reputable, vetted breeder. Either option is preferable to purchasing a puppy from a pet store. Do you know about the pet store/puppy mill connection? Research has established that 98% of the puppies sold in pet stores were raised in puppy mills (a term used for mass commercial breeding facilities that mass produce puppies with little regard for the dog’s welfare but plenty of concern for profit).
The majority of puppy mills are located in seven states: Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. In depth research into sales contracts from local pet stores reveals that the majority of their puppy supply comes from these states. Further research into the United States Dept. of Agriculture records shows that these breeding dogs and puppies live in conditions that no responsible pet owner would ever approve of.
Let’s test your tolerance. The following is a sample list of violations regularly cited on inspection reports of mass breeding facilities by the United States Dept. of Agriculture. These reports are from breeding facilities supplying local pet stores:
Emaciated dogs on premises.
Dogs coats matted and coated with feces.
Dogs living in temperatures below 23.8 degrees F with no ability to stay warm.
(Water buckets are frozen).
Heat index 99 degrees F with no fan or monitoring of temperature.
No shelter from sun, wind or rain.
Medical issues noted: feet swelling, lacerations, scabs, ulcerations, tartar buildup, tooth loss, masses, nasal congestion, coughing, crusty eyes, diarrhea, underweight and malnutrition, protruding eyes, loss of eyes, overgrown toenails
Foul odors attracting swarms of flies.
Severely rusted metal frames on enclosures posing risk of injury.
Feet and legs of puppies falling through expanded metal flooring causing injury to legs or puppy’s inability to get back to mother to nurse.
Excessive fecal material: hair, debris, insect debris in the whelping buildings where puppies are housed.
Self feeding receptacles have an accumulation of grime on them contaminating the food.
Cages in the “barn” that are hutch style and hang from the ceiling. The dogs are rocking and swinging in the enclosures.
Read enough? Is this tolerable? Might it appear to you that these animals that were meant to provide companionship for humans are treated like a cash crop? This is the sad truth.
The legislation that regulates this business, the Animal Welfare Act, is lax and provides only minimal standards of care for the animals. When groups such as the Humane Society of theUnited Statesor the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lobby for stronger legislation, there is opposition from many organizations that profit from this business and, more often than not, the law does not get passed.
Therefore, the USDA with approximately 70 inspectors nationwide and approximately 4,500 facilities nationwide to inspect, are expected to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. An audit in May 2010 by the Office of Inspector General reveals that the USDA is not meeting its obligations and thousands of animals are suffering because of it.
CAN WE HELP ON A LOCAL LEVEL? YES!!!!
- We can decrease the demand for these puppies. Just say “NO” to pet store purchases.
- We can encourage local legislators to adopt ordinances that will prohibit the sale of puppies in their community.
- We can educate others and encourage them to do the same.
On Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 7:00 PM, theBrickTownship council will vote on an ordinance to ban the sale of puppies in pet stores in their community. It is up to us to attend that meeting to show our support for adopting this ordinance.
Will you commit to a couple of hours that night to attend the meeting and support the ordinance? If so, this ordinance will be passed andBrickTownship and will be the second municipality in the State ofNew Jersey to demonstrate that it is “animal-friendly.” Hope to see you there.
Update – February 17 - I am on the road and my internet access will be limited until March, but I wanted to follow-up on the Hearing of the Brick Township Council on February 14th, regarding ,”Puppies Galore.” According to Courtney Fisher Keys, the business license for Puppies Galore has been permanently revoked in the Township. Furthermore, the Brick Township Council is looking into an ordinance that would ban all retail pet stores in Brick Township. Courtney, and her group of Peaceful Protestors, are planning another demonstration outside PUPPIES in Brick on Rte. 70 (in the strip mall next to Target) on Saturday, March 3rd at noon.
I would also like my readers to familiarize themselves with the case of Little Brown Dog (LBD) and the ongoing fight for him to receive true justice. You can read and join in the effort by going to: http://askwilliewonka.blogspot.com/2012/02/justice-for-lbd-little-brown-dog.html?spref=fb
In late January, thirty-nine very unhealthy puppies were removed from Puppies Galore in Brick Township, NJ. http://brick.patch.com/articles/officials-remove-sick-puppies-from-brick-pet-store Daniel Nee, of the Brick Patch on-line news service, broke the story that after an ongoing collaborative effort, the shop owned by Nat Sladkin and Maria DeSantis, had been raided and closed. http://brick.patch.com/articles/pet-store-operators-charged-with-42-counts-of-animal-cruelty?ncid=following_comment
Puppies Galore had opened in late fall, sandwiched between a diner and a bakery in a strip mall on Route 70. Sladkin, as many locals might recall, is the former owner of the now defunct Puppy Depot in Point Pleasant Beach, just a short drive from his recently shut-down operation in Brick.
Among the responders on the Patch article comment thread was Janice Fisher, a woman who with her family and friends has been arranging Peaceful Demonstrations outside of these establishments in Ocean and Monmouth Counties. Janice explained that there was a demonstration planned for outside another puppy retailer just about a mile down the road (owned by another party) also located in a strip mall next to Target on Route 70. As I had wanted to attend one of these events, I said I would be there.
The day was damp and cold, but it didn’t squelch the enthusiasm of Janice and her crew. When I arrived, they told me where to park (part of the police ordinance calls for the participants not to take up parking spaces needed for customers of all the shops) and what line not to cross (a spindly tree which we were not to step beyond). Janice commented on the low turnout noting some members of their group were protesting a similar establishment up in the next county.
Last December, I had interviewed another protest organizer, Jacki Flanigan,http://nationaldogweekbook.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/be-aware-of-where-you-get-your-dog/ I had been told that there was a certain protocol to follow; sign holders could not use abusive or threatening language toward customers visiting the Puppy Shop and must maintain a designated distance from the store’s entrance. Janice also offered participants ready-made signs that read, “Google Puppymills” and others that announced, “Meet the parents of your Puppy.” They also handed out literature and presented photos of what really goes on at the mills across the country.
As Janice, husband Dave, daughter Courtney and her husband, held signs with about four other protestors, near the busy road, many cars honked in support as they passed. Before long, I noticed a young man sitting in a small gray car directly in front of the information table. He sat quietly in a knit cap, cigarette in one hand, camcorder in the other. Janice explained he was working for the store, recording every move and action of the protestors.
Despite this, in my two hours there, I saw two pups being carried out of the store. Families averted their eyes from the protestors, but some of the young children peered over their shoulder, curious to know what was wrong. Hopefully, their puppy will be healthy, but perhaps they may at a later time investigate for themselves. Still other groups of people came up on the hill to talk to Janice and Courtney, genuinely interested and some appearing shocked.
“What does the staff tell their customers about you?” I asked Janice. “They tell them we are just crazy or we are protesting fur,” she replied.
I spoke to a number of people who had acquired their puppies from this shop owned by Lorin Kisland, a man associated with a couple named Bauck who are well-known “players” in the mill trade with a long. (Google away here).They spoke of health issues, ever-growing vet bills and the indifference and lack of responsibility on the part of the shop’s management. The stories I heard and the revolting photos I saw were enough to make anyone who claims to be an animal-lover get up and do something.
It is estimated that 90 percent of all of these pups come from puppy mills. According to Janice, people often learn their dog is a mill pup only after having signed the purchase contract. To those who claim their purchased pup has a certificate of pedigree (making all legit), yes, it may, but the AKC only requires that the parents of the pup are purebreds, (that is the only “standard” requirement), and make $25.00 for each certified pup.
BUT…and this is very important. There is something called the Pet Purchase Protection Law also called the “Puppy Lemon Law.” If you have bought a pet and then obtained an “unfit for sale” certificate from your vet, or have another complaint that has not been satisfied or remedied by these local stores, you can:
- Contact the NJ Dept of Consumer Affairs at (973) 504-6200
- You MUST contact the ocean County Board of Health – (732) 341-9700.
You can report your case to Pet Watch NJ by going to www.pwnj.org (they keep records of all pet store complaints in the state for consumer education).
All others should inquire of similar options available in their own states.
I know this is a very brief post about a very big problem. Janice’s group will be at the same location on Saturday at noon. There is also a scheduled hearing about the fate of these retailers in Brick Township to be held on February 14th. If you wish to receive more information: JFDF2@optonline.net.
During National Dog Week, 2010, the Mayor of Brick, Stephen Acropolis, declared Brick Township a National Dog Week Community at the town’s First Dog Fest in front of an appreciative dog-loving crowd. I know he is on the side of man’s best friend and I am hoping he will rid this town of these establishments. As for the thirty-nine sick puppies, they have received the proper medical treatment and are being housed at three different shelters.