NJ Legislators Introduce Bill to Crack Down on 'Puppy Stores'

The "Healthy Puppies and Kittens Assurance Act" aims to stop the sale of dogs and cats from so-called "puppy mills"


A group of New Jersey lawmakers have introduced a bill they say will eliminate the sale of dogs and cats in New Jersey from so-called "puppy mills."

The proposal comes just over two months after Puppies Galore, a pet store in the southern New Jersey town of Brick, was shut down by authorities when 26 of the 39 dogs being held there were .

Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin (all R-Ocean) have introduced the "Healthy Puppies and Kittens Assurance Act" which the group said in a joint statement Monday will place strict regulations on pet stores that sell animals from puppy and kitten mill breeders.

The bill establishes a state registry of breeders and pet dealers who will have to provide information on the health and breeding history of a cat or dog being sold. The bill creates what is effectively an animal birth certificate, called a health certificate, which must remain with the animal throughout its breeding life and be updated annually.

The health certificate regulation would apply to both in-state and out-of-state breeders and pet dealers.

The bill also prohibits breeding practices common to "puppy mills" and limits the selling of cats or dogs as pets to 25 animals per year per breeder. 

Breeders selling cats or dogs as pets in New Jersey, under the proposal, would have to annually register with the Department of Health, which would be published as public record. During registration, breeders would be required to sign a document attesting to compliance with federal and state law concerning the proper breeding, care and treatment of animals.

"By requiring registration of breeders, providing purchaser with information about their future pet and imposing heavy penalties on violators, individuals and pet shops will be encouraged to purchase their cat or dog from a reputable breeder,” said Holzapfel in the statement. "This would eliminate the market for selling cats or dogs from puppy mills with poor and unhealthy conditions."

The law also provides a process for the revocation of licenses to sell dogs or cats if a breeder violates the law. Any breeder or dealer who had previously been convicted of animal cruelty would be automatically disqualified.

The owner of the Puppies Galore store – Maria De Santis, of Old Bridge – and manager Nathan "Nat" Sladkin, of Farmingdale, are both in connection with the condition of the Hooper Avenue store.

The Brick Township council is currently on any new stores that sell dogs or cats within the township's borders.

The bill also cracks down on pets brought into New Jersey from other states, where puppy mills are often located.

A certificate of health prepared by a veterinarian will be required for all pets transported into New Jersey for sale by a dog dealer, kennel or pet shop.  This certificate will include the pet’s age, health, origin, and the date and information about the pet’s rabies vaccination

Finally, the bill establishes the Canine and Cat Health Board which would be composed of the state veterinarian, the commissioner of health and senior services, the director of the division of consumer affairs, the president of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association and three members of the public who are members of a recognized pet advocacy organization or are licensed as a kennel, dog, dealer, pet dealer or pet shop.

"By limiting the number of dogs and cats the breeders sell to pet dealers we can stop these puppy mills and puppy stores from selling unhealthy animals," said Wolfe.

The bills are S-1840 and A-2746.

Terry Ward April 11, 2012 at 05:20 PM
"I smell a rat...onafixedincome sounds all too familiar. NAIA perhaps? That "owner/breeder" buzzword SO gives you away. After the Proposition B fiasco in Missouri, breeders got NO rights thank you very much. Beware the puppy-mill apologist lurking behind the anti-legislation rhetoric..scratch the surface and woohoo! the AKC and the NRA and the Farm Bureau and every other anti-humaniac on the planet. Such propaganda might work in Missouri onafxedincome, but this is New Jersey. People actually THINK here."
onafixedincome April 12, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Hate to tell you this, Terry, but I'm not NAIA, although I am on their mailing list. I'm just a responsible animal owner who breeds animals for human consumption, who wants to see SOLUTIONS to the problem, not just more and more money-hogging legislation which punishes or prohibits any and all breeding or keeping of many animals. If you 'think', you're sure not showing it off, Terry. Give us some reasons WHY the suggested solution wouldn't help, hm? Why and how would giving USDA the ability to adequately and regularly inspect all USDA licensed breeders NOT improve animal welfare for animals bred to the pet trade? Personally, I think that shelters and rescues should ALSO be USDA inspected--they do sell animals just as a random-source dealer would, so they should be regulated the same way, yes? I'm waiting with interest for a reply. :) Hopefully, several! :)
Terry Ward April 12, 2012 at 02:50 PM
If you " breed animals for human consumption" what EXACTLY are you doing ranting on a companion animal discussion? Lookin' for a new revenue stream? More gibberish from the folks who say our pets are 'livestock'. MY PETS ARE NOT LIVESTOCK! MY PETS ARE NOT LIVESTOCK! Shelters and recues 'sell' animals????? What an unconscionable inhumane brainless joke. This has Humanewatch slime oozing all over it. Keep your mitts off our pets farmerboy/girl. OUR PETS ARE NOT FOR SLAUGHTER! Stick to your pigs. Stick to your pigs.
onafixedincome April 13, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Because I too have pets, Terry...I bought them fair and square from the local humane society. I do think you need to work on your reading for comprehension, though...I asked some questions, and I'd really like to hear a sensible answer rather than the usual unitelligible emotion-laden personal attack typical of the animal supremacist. By definition, the exchange of money for goods is a sale. You can call it anything you want, but even in CA's recent law SB917, they had to explicitly exempt shelters, rescues, and humane societies specifically for that reason. If you keep up on what shelters etc are doing, they have 'sale prices' where they lower the 'adoption fee' for certain animals or at certain times of the year; how is that different than, say, Tiffany's having a sale on 'red and green stoned rings just in time for Christmas'?? Answer: It's not. It's all marketing that is commonly used in all sorts of commerce. Therefore, they should be regulated and inspected like any other animal dealer. In my book, no, actual PETS are NOT for slaughter...but livestock, like the animals I raise (and no, they aren't pigs), most certainly are raised for that purpose, with one exception....my 'specials'--the animals I am attached to, which have homes here until they die of spoiled old age. Pets, if you will....from livestock. So. Still waiting for a sensible answer from someone on why my suggested solution-starter won't help....
Terry Ward April 19, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Barnes is no vet... 'Barnes' is a doppelganger.


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