Lorianne and Charlemagne. (Courtesty of Lorianne Pagano)

Lorianne Pagano never knew about puppy mills.  Her first experience with puppy mill dogs was the hardest.  In 2003, her husband purchased for her a little Brussels Griffon puppy from a pet store in Amityville, NY.   They were delighted with their new family member – they named him Charlemagne.  They brought him home, gave him love and good food.  He was also brought home with a host of health problems.  Lorianne spent thousands and thousands of dollars in vet bills trying to heal Charlemangne’s health problems.  In January, 2007, Charlemagne succumbed to kidney disease, a heart murmur and high blood pressure.  Charlemagne was the product of a puppy mill.  The pet store never admitted Charlemagne was bred in a puppy mill.   Not an uncommon scenario with any pet store or pet dealer that sells dogs.

Lorianne decided not to hide in grief or forget the experience or rush right out to buy another dog.  After losing Charlemagne, she decided to fight against puppy mills.  And for 5 long years, she has been pushing for a law in New York that would stop pet stores from selling dogs from sources where they are bred under inhumane conditions.

It’s called Charlemagne’s law (Senate Bill S6093-2011).

S6093-2011: Authorizes a consumer to return, exchange or seek reimbursement for treatment for an unfit cat or dog within 6 months of the purchase of such animal from a pet dealer.  This law will increase the time for return/exchange/reimbursement from the current 14 days to 6 months.  The law will also allow The right to retain the animal and to receive reimbursement from a  pet  dealer  for veterinary services from a licensed veterinarian of the  consumer’s choosing, for the purpose of curing or attempting to cure the  animal  DURING THE LIFETIME OF THE ANIMAL.

Yah.  That will put the majority of careless pet dealers and pet breeders out of business.  I emphasize the careless ones.

S6093-2011 is up for the vote this June 13th during NYS Animal Advocacy Day 2012.  Starting at 9:30 a.m. in the Well of the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

This event, sponsored by Assemblyman Jim Tedisco and Senator Greg Ball, will enable animal supporters to network, share information, and then lobby their legislators to strengthen animal cruelty laws in New York.  Last year this event drew over 500 animal advocates from across the state.  Joining Lorianne and invited by Senator Ball is Rescue Ink.  Last year Rescue Ink spoke at the State Capitol to promote animal rights and the strengthening of “Buster’s Law.”

“Buster’s Law” made the torture or killing of a companion pet a crime with up to two years’ jail time and a $5,000 fine.   Buster’s Law was named after an 18-month-old tabby cat that had been doused with kerosene and burned to death by a Schenectady teenager.

New Yorkers!  You need to write your Senators and ask them to support this bill.  If you don’t know your senator, here is a handy link to the New York State Senate for you to Find Your Senator.

http://www.nysenate.gov/senators

They want to hear from you!  Call, email, write, call, email, write, post on their facebook, call, email, write – you get it.  This is important.  Wanna put a dent into the puppy mill and pet dealer operations for the State of New York?  Start calling.   This bill will go nowhere if the residents of New York don’t start peppering their senators for support.  And that includes all New York rescue organizations and their volunteers.

Please pass this onto your New York friends and contacts.

Lorianne and Charlemagne a few hours before he died. (Courtesy of Lorianne Pagano)

This picture of Lorianne and Charlemagne really breaks my heart.  You can see the sadness in these two friends during the final hours.

DAMN.

New York State Animal Advocacy Day Facebook

*****

Could the passage of this law be the beginning of the end to puppy mills in NY?  Maybe, but even if not, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.  Laws governing animal abuse and welfare tend to be weak because animals are “property”, which has its pros and cons and like it or not, they are also big business.

The fact that it is “big business”  shows us where we need to aim in crafting legislation to protect companion animals.  Most of the laws covering damages, ie. lemon laws, usually limit the monetary reward amount to cost of the dog and in many cases also requires the dog the be returned to the breeder or seller.  Many owners spend thousands and thousands of dollars to care for sick pets and see only small amounts recouped when they go after the seller for selling a sick pet.

Dogs from puppy mills are widely known for their problems ranging from chronic medical to behavior problems from inbreeding, over-breeding and poor care to name just a few causal deficiencies.  More and more states have been passing laws and legislation increasing the awareness, oversight and raising the minimum acceptable conditions at breeding facilities.  Enforcement is still in question and much of the legislation gets seriously watered down from conception to passage but this does show that awareness is increasing and the value of companion animals is slowly being elevated.

Charlemagne’s Law is another step in the right direction.  Yes, pets are property but with a greater worth than a table or chair and if a breeder wants to continue to breed and a seller wants to continue to sell, it’s time they take responsibility for their “product” in the long run.  If a “product” is inherently defective, the “manufacturer” must be responsible for correcting the defect regardless.

If you find my phrasology offensive of cold, understand that sellers and breeders look at these animals as their products and they are only as good as their market price.  If we look at it from their point of view and force application of “warranties” of their products, they have only a couple of choices, better products or get out of the game!   

Personally I’d like to see a lot of them closing down but as long as there are buyers out there, as long as people don’t know or understand the cruelty they propagate every time they buy a pet from a pet store or puppy mill, puppy mills will continue.  So we educate, we help to get laws and legislation passed that will at least oversee the welfare of our beloved companion animals. One step at a time… one step at a time… as long as we continue to work and not give up….

D.

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