MANHATTAN — New York is trying to crack down on puppy mills — with the help of some socialite star power from the mayor's youngest daughter, Georgina Bloomberg, and her friend Amanda Hearst, the publishing heiress and model.
Upper West Side State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal introduced a new bill Thursday to strengthen standards of care for dogs in large-scale, commercial breeding facilities, commonly known as puppy mills. The Humane Society of the United States, along with Bloomberg and Hearst, joined Rosenthal in announcing the bill, which comes during the society's sixth annual "puppy mill action week."
“Amanda and I have seen firsthand the inhumane and deplorable conditions that dogs are subjected to in puppy mills,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “I’m thankful that legislation has been introduced to help protect dogs from puppy mills in New York.”
She and Hearst — both dedicated animal rights advocates — tagged along with the Humane Society in March to help rescue dogs living in fetid conditions at a suspected puppy mill in rural North Carolina. They found and removed 88 Chihuahuas, French Bulldogs, Dachshunds and Pomeranians living crowded in small wire enclosures in their own feces, the organization said.
Many of the dogs, who were brought to the local SPCA shelter, appeared malnourished and were suffering from various ailments.
In puppy mills, dogs are typically kept in cramped cages where they are forced to produce litter after litter of puppies for their entire lives, never setting foot outside their cages, according to the Humane Society.
The proposed bill would require basic standards for annual veterinary care, breeding frequency and age limits. It would ensure dogs receive adequate space and exercise, and it would forbid anyone convicted of cruelty from obtaining a New York pet-dealer license.
“Often, people don’t know they’ve bought puppies from those who are engaging in cruel and inhumane practices,” Hearst, founder and chair of the society's Friends of Finn committee, said in a statement.
In 2010, a puppy mill operator in Romulus, N.Y., killed 78 dogs and 15 puppies by locking them in a makeshift wooden box and piping in exhaust from a gas engine, according to reports. The operator was fined $500 for the incident.