Can Brick Township (NJ), home to Dog Fest held during NDW, ban puppy shops?

“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.

We can.

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