Approximately three hours before a town board meeting Dec. 11, Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner informed the public through the town’s e-list that a public hearing on a new law banning commercially bred dogs and cats from being sold in pet stores would be postponed due to a packed agenda with three other public hearings on the town’s budget, capital budget and proposed tree ordinance.
The town board will hold two public hearings on the proposed legislation to ban “puppy mills” and “kitten factories” at 7 p.m. on Jan. 14 and Feb. 4 at Greenburgh Town Hall on Hillside Avenue.
The proposed law would ban the sale of any cat or dog in any pet store within the town, unless the animals were obtained from a shelter or humane society that doesn’t breed dogs or affiliate with a breeder.
The law would also ban the reselling of dogs — cats are not specifically mentioned — from a breeder, pet dealer or broker.
Pet shops would be allowed to collaborate with animal shelters to offer space for adoptable animals, as long as the pet shop didn’t have an ownership interest in the adoptable animals and didn’t receive a fee for providing space.
Every pet shop offering a dog or cat for sale would be required to put a label on the animal’s cage showing the name and address of the organization from which the animal came.
According to the law, the intent of the proposed legislation would be to stop “the mistreatment, abuse and even slaughter of unsold dogs and cats.”
Private breeders who rear and sell animals on their own private property zoned for such purposes would not be affected by the proposed legislation.
The town’s building code enforcement officers would have oversight and anyone found violating the law would be fined up to $500 for each cat or dog offered for sale in violation of the code.
Feiner told the Inquirer the law would be changed and modified throughout the public hearing period and that it would be possible to exempt current businesses that can prove they are not affiliated with any puppy mills.
“I think the legislation will have to be tweaked and worked on,” said Feiner. “I think you should look at the proposal as a first draft.”
Feiner said local animal rights activists have been concerned about puppy mills and he said the town had been putting off a provision banning them.
“I think members of the board and most people don’t like puppy mills,” said Feiner. “But again, I do think there is a lot of work that still needs to take place” on crafting the new law.