NYC Pet Store Investigated by HSUS Shuttered, but larger policy reforms needed · A Humane Nation


In July, we posted a heartbreaking video of sick puppies and deficient care at the Chelsea Kennel Club, a pet store in Manhattan. Above, a puppy oozing mucus at the Chelsea Kennel Club in May. Photo by The HSUS
NYC pet store investigated by HSUS shuttered, but larger policy reforms needed
September 26, 2017

The Chelsea Kennel Club – a boutique Manhattan pet store that was the focus of an HSUS undercover investigation released just two months ago – appears to be shuttered. In July, we posted a heartbreaking video of sick puppies and deficient care there, which attracted five million views on Facebook. Today no one is answering the phone at the store, and photographs reveal a “closed” sign on the front door and rows of empty shelves.

While we certainly want outliers in regard to animal care and cruelty to change their ways or to go out of business, we cannot do in-depth investigations at the hundreds of places throughout the country that are supplying stores like the one in New York. That’s why the nation needs sound policies that set measurable standards of care and assure that these standards are enforced.

Sometimes puppies acquire an illness in a pet store, and the health problems are compounded by cost-cutting measures and inexperienced and inattentive personnel. But in many cases, the dogs arrive sick because of terrible conditions at puppy mills. These are precisely the mills that are the focus of our major reform efforts.

There are plenty of tricks that mill operators use to hide their abuses. Many scofflaw operators purport to having clean inspection reports, but that’s only because they dropped a noncompliant license under one name, and opened a new one under a different family member’s name or a different business name. We found this hide-the-ball strategy at work in several such businesses selling to Chelsea Kennel Club. Sadly, it’s not illegal. There isn’t even a specific rule that requires people who have been convicted of animal cruelty to disclose their conviction when applying for or renewing a USDA license.

But there’s good news. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the federal law that requires certain animal businesses to abide by basic standards of care, is requesting public comment on a proposed rule on the topic. The proposal would close the loophole, leading to the actual shut-down of recidivist puppy millers, as well as roadside zoos and substandard circuses covered under the same regulations.

The Chelsea Kennel Club appears to have closed permanently just two months after an HSUS undercover investigation. Photo by Colin Gillooly

Allowing noncompliant licensees to continue operating is harmful to animals, a waste of government resources, and can also lead to public and animal health crises. In 2010, authorities linked an outbreak of distemper at a Wyoming pet store to Jeff Fortin, who owned a USDA-licensed dog breeding kennel in Kansas. That resulted in the killing of 1,200 dogs. Fortin had been found in violation of AWA standards for years, but he used a technique that many problem dealers have used in the past—they “erase” their histories by simply dropping a non-compliant license and getting a new one under a different business name. In addition, the CDC is currently investigating a seven-state outbreak of a bacterial disease in humans that has been linked to a major national pet store chain that buys its puppies from USDA-licensed breeders. For the safety of animals and the public, it only makes sense that the USDA require licensees to affirmatively demonstrate compliance with the AWA’s health and welfare standards before renewing a license.

The new proposed USDA rule can help prevent puppy millers from gaming the system. We have a chance to urge the USDA to make four vital changes:

Require licensees to affirmatively demonstrate compliance with the AWA before renewing a license or significantly expanding their operations
Prevent noncompliant licensees from simply transferring their operation to another person or LLC on the same (or adjacent) property
Require license applicants and renewing applicants to disclose any animal cruelty convictions, and
Make the process for denying or revoking a license more effective and efficient

The pet industry will most likely fight against closing these gaps in AWA oversight, so the agency needs to hear from you. You can help by commenting directly on the Federal Register site, or comment via our Action Alert. Please remember to personalize your comments, and to be respectful and polite.

https://blog.humanesociety.org/wayne/2017/09/nyc-pet-store-shuttered-larger-policy-reforms-needed.html?credit=web_id93480558?credit=em_092717

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 comments on “NYC Pet Store Investigated by HSUS Shuttered, but larger policy reforms needed · A Humane Nation

  1. These places need to be shut down. And not only puppies and kittens are involved. They often have other, more exotic animals that most people do not have the knowledge or commitment to care for.

    They often sell chicks and ducklings and goslings that are abandoned as soon as they grow up. I have experience with that issue. We have a park with a pond here, which became the dumping ground for the birds. It goes below zero here in winter, and the park has no food source when summer visitors and their sacks of bread stop coming in. Unfortunately, the park department would not feed them, and the local humane societies would not pick them up. The park policy was “let nature take its course,” meaning they would starve.

    So I decided to fight back. For nine years I Inhauled in 50-pound bags of grain every day to every other day, depending on the weather. By the end of that time, the duck population built up, since they were living through the winter. Then every wild duck in the county also started showing up when I and the grain bags arrived.

    The park department caved in. Then said people could apply to adopt the ducks as pets if they could prove an appropriate place for them to live. They did a roundup, and people arrived with carriers from around Washington and Idaho, and the ducks went home.

    They now forbid feeding and keep up adoptions going if birds are abandoned. I had talked to the stores about the problem but they had no interest in stopping the sale of the baby birds. Come to think of it, why would they? People bought the birds and I bought their feed all winter! What a deal.

    Like

    • I agree, it’s terrible the way people buy all kinds of pets from pet stores and then abandon them when they get tired of them and it’s an ongoing battle trying to stop the pet stores, because people keep buying and they’re treated no better than a pet bed, then people like us try to take care of them. Thank you for caring.

      Like

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