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Department of Agriculture Fails to Protect Companion Animals


5-8-13 Complaint against Dept. of Agriculture
6-27-12 Dept. of Agriculture letter Admitting Pet Store Violated the Law
NYS Laws Protecting Puppies
                          Umka Before and After Surgery
Susan Chana Lask Represents Umka the Puppy Against Department of Agriculture 
On May 8, 2013, New York City resident Elena Zakharova as representative of Umka the puppy by their attorney Susan Chana Lask filed a complaint against the New York State Department of Agriculture, Index 2549/13, in Albany County.  Ms. Zakharova as a NYS taxpayer and Umka as a puppy demand the Department of Agriculture protect millions of puppies and consumers from pet store abuse as mandated pursuant to the General Business Law §751[1] and Agriculture and Markets Laws. The Complaint notes $345 Million Dollars of NYS taxpayer money funds the Department and $117,000 is used to protect NYS puppies’ health and consumers from buying sick puppies.[2] Because the Department misuses taxpayer funds, the funds are actually used to kill puppies in shelters when the purpose is to save them. The Town of Huntington spent over $850,000 in 2011 of tax dollars to kill 900 of 1000 dogs and cats, or a 90% kill rate.[3]  More than 11,000 animals were euthanized at four Upstate NY shelters in the past three years despite over $25 Million in taxes paid to the region’s 52 non‐profit organizations received.[4]

Article 35-D of New York’s General Business Law mandates pet stores deliver at the time of the sale documents proving the source of dogs sold but the store that sold Umka refuses to deliver and violates the law. The paperwork notifies consumers if the puppy purchased is a sick puppy from a Puppy Mill.  Puppy Mills prioritize profits over dog care by torturing dogs to their death to mass produce sick puppies that pet stores sell.  It is a Multi-Billion Dollar industry according to Attorney General Schneiderman.[5]  On May 1, 2013, AG Schneiderman stated that Puppy Mills are “despicable” and announced his consumer fraud bureau and Organized Crime Task Force will protect animals from puppy mill abuse.[6]  New York State Sen. Grisanti right now has a “Puppy Mill Bill” S 3753 to permit municipalities to pass laws banning sales of puppy mill puppies in pet stores to protect puppies from pain of congenital defects and prevent consumers paying tens of thousands of dollars for their care after the purchase. Thirty Eight states have similar laws.

“Umka is not requesting human rights such as the right to vote, but she demands species appropriate rights to protect her as a sentient being from pain and suffering, and to not be exploited for financial gain by pet stores that break the law because the State fails to enforce the law”, says Susan Chana Lask.

On June 27, 2012, the Department directed Raising Rover to comply with the law then the Department abandoned its statutory duties to regulate pet stores by failing to investigate or file charges against Raising Rover’s, now operating as “Barking Babies”. “The Department claimed it can’t investigate Raising Rover because they have a new license and new name that they paid a $100 for. So now we know people can commit murder and not be prosecuted if they just change their name and pay the court filing fees for the name change? ”, says Ms. Lask.

[1] §751. Legislative intent. It is hereby determined and declared that supervision by the state of the sale of dogs or cats by pet dealers is within the public interest and for the purpose of safeguarding the public and insuring the humane treatment of such animals by guaranteeing the good health of such dogs or cats in the course of such transactions, or providing other alternatives to the consumer.

[4] Humane Society of the Capital Region, Draft REPORT ON ANIMAL WELFARE AND ANIMAL WELFARE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE CAPITAL REGION, Jan. 22, 2013 (Intro letter of Pres. Kathleen Tiel).