Suffolk County, NY
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 6-3-2014 by L.L. No. 16-2014]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that pets, especially dogs and cats, are a part of many families throughout Suffolk County. This Legislature also finds and determines that many families choose to purchase their dog or cat at a pet store. This Legislature further finds and determines that pet stores vary widely in their care and treatment of the animals they sell, with some treating their animals like extended family while others barely meet state requirements. This Legislature finds that dog and cat breeders that cater to pet stores also vary significantly in their treatment of newborn animals and the way they breed new litters. This Legislature determines that some pet breeders operate substandard commercial facilities that expose animals to inhuman and unsafe living conditions to increase profit margins. This Legislature also finds that it can be difficult for consumers to judge how a pet store cares for the animals it sells or how the animal was treated at their breeder's facility. This Legislature further finds that the New York State Legislature recently enacted legislation which, for the first time, empowers local governments to regulate pet dealers. This Legislature also determines that the County of Suffolk should enact a reasonable framework for pet dealers and the operation of pet stores that supplements existing state regulations and which serves to protect both consumers and the animals offered for sale. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to establish requirements for pet dealers and pet stores operating in the County of Suffolk.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
The
ADOPTION
The process of taking guardianship of and responsibility for a pet that was abandoned or released by a previous owner to a shelter or rescue organization.
[Added 10-5-2016 by L.L. No. 28-2016]
ANIMAL
A cat, a dog, a hamster, a guinea pig, or a rabbit.
[Amended 10-5-2016 by L.L. No. 28-2016]
BREEDER
Any person who breeds nine or more cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters or guinea pigs per year.
[Amended 10-5-2016 by L.L. No. 28-2016]
BROKER
Any person who imports, buys, sells or trades cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, kittens, puppies, or bunnies in wholesale channels. Brokers are not required to take physical possession of the animals to be deemed as such.
[Amended 10-5-2016 by L.L. No. 28-2016]
CAT
An animal of the genus Felis of the family Felidae.
DOG
An animal of the genus Canis of the family Canidae.
GUINEA PIG
An animal of the genus Cavia of the family Caviidae, subfamily Caviinae.
[Added 10-5-2016 by L.L. No. 28-2016]
HAMSTER
An animal of the family Cricetidae, subfamily Cricetinae.
[Added 10-5-2016 by L.L. No. 28-2016]
HEALTHY AND SAFE
In a good state of welfare, as indicated by scientific evidence. Animals maintained in a healthy and safe manner are objectively in sound physical condition, comfortable, well nourished, able to express innate behavior, and not suffering from any negative conditions such as pain, fear, and distress.
[Added 12-18-2018 by L.L. No. 10-2019]
HOBBY BREEDER
Any person, who has never been a USDA-licensed breeder, who owns four or fewer breeding female animals and sells one or more of their offspring to a pet store, pet dealer or broker annually.
[Added 12-18-2018 by L.L. No. 10-2019]
PERSON
A natural person, individual, corporation, unincorporated association, proprietorship, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock association, or other entity or business organization of any kind.
PET DEALER
Any person who engages in the sale or offering for sale of more than nine animals per year for profit to the public. Such definition shall include breeders who sell or offer to sell animals; except a breeder who sells or offers to sell directly to consumers fewer than 25 animals per year that are born and raised on the breeder's residential premises shall not be considered a pet dealer. Such definition shall further not include duly incorporated humane societies dedicated to the care of unwanted animals which make such animals available for adoption, whether or not a fee is charged for such adoption.
PET STORE
A business establishment owned and/or operated by a pet dealer.
RABBIT
An animal of the Leporidae family of the Lagomorpha order.
[Added 10-5-2016 by L.L. No. 28-2016]
TRANSPORTER
A commercial business registered with the USDA as a carrier which provides transportation for animals from one location to another, as regulated by the federal Animal Welfare Act.
[Added 12-18-2018 by L.L. No. 10-2019]
USDA
The United States Department of Agriculture.
VETERINARIAN
A veterinary doctor licensed by the state in which he or she practices and who is certified by the animal health authority of the state of licensure.
[Added 12-18-2018 by L.L. No. 10-2019]
[Amended 10-5-2016 by L.L. No. 28-2016; 12-18-2018 by L.L. No. 10-2019]
A. 
No animal shall be offered for sale by a pet dealer or pet store unless the animal is at least eight weeks old, is in good health, has been weaned from its mother and was raised and is being maintained in a healthy and safe manner. No pet store shall transfer an animal to an individual or entity as an adoption unless the animal was sourced from a municipal shelter within Suffolk County. Animals shall not be bartered, traded or given away.
B. 
Pet dealers shall only source animals for sale from USDA-licensed Class A breeders and Class B brokers. Animals intended for sale shall not be sourced from private or exempt breeders through a USDA-licensed Class B broker, hobby breeder, or any other unregulated source. No pet dealer shall obtain or be in possession of animals intended for sale originating from a breeder or a broker that has received:
(1) 
A direct or critical violation from the USDA within the past two years;
(2) 
"No access" violations on the two most recent USDA inspection reports;
(3) 
Three or more indirect or noncritical violations, other than "no access" violations on any USDA inspection reports within the past two years;
(4) 
One or more reoccurring indirect or noncritical violations on any USDA inspection report within the past two years;
(5) 
Any USDA APHIS Section 2.40 violation on any USDA inspection report within the past two years, except violations for unused and used expired medications having an expiration date no more than 59 days from the inspection date; and
(6) 
Any violations on a state inspection report related to the health and welfare of the animal from the breeder's or broker's state of origin within the past two years, if applicable.
C. 
Any animal offered for sale by a pet dealer or pet store shall have daily access to appropriate amounts of clean, fresh water and clean, fresh food no less than twice per day.
D. 
Any pet dealer or pet store offering animals for sale shall, upon request of the prospective consumer, make available a copy of the most recent inspection reports conducted by the USDA and the animal's state of origin of the breeder and/or broker and/or the transporter from which the subject animal came. Pet dealers and pet stores shall post the statement "USDA inspection reports are available upon request" on the bottom of signs required pursuant to New York State General Business Law § 753-b, which statement shall be subject to the same standards of readability.
E. 
Any pet dealer or pet store offering animals for sale shall retain each invoice it receives from the broker or breeder from whom it obtains its animals for a period of at least two years. A copy of the invoice must be provided to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs upon the Department's request.
F. 
Any pet dealer or pet store offering animals for sale shall make sterilization services by a licensed veterinarian available to the consumer for animals sold at an age at which such procedures may be performed safely. Consumers shall be responsible for any costs associated with utilizing such services.
G. 
No pet dealers or pet store shall provide animals to customers under lease or rental terms. Any agreement for short-term use of an animal or an agreement involving small installment payments by a customer with a large final payment due at the end of the agreement period shall be deemed an improper rental or lease of an animal. Pet dealers must disclose to customers the nature of any relationship it has with a third-party lender when offering credit-based financing in their stores. Pet dealers which offer layaway plans must comply with New York General Business Law § 396-t.
H. 
Pet dealers and pet stores shall post a sign provided by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs at the entrance of their businesses which is fully visible from the exterior of the store that directs consumers to a webpage maintained by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs regarding pet dealers and pet stores.
I. 
Pet dealers shall place all animals purchased from a breeder or broker in isolation upon their arrival at the pet store for a minimum of six days. After the six-day isolation is complete, all cages used for isolation must be cleaned and sterilized. Animals shall be examined by a New York State licensed veterinarian within four days of commencing isolation, during which all tests appropriate for the animal's age and breed are to be conducted. Upon completing the examination, a report, signed by the veterinarian, shall be issued to the pet dealer detailing the condition of the animal on the date of examination, including any medical or physical conditions present in the animal, illnesses the animal had or has, diagnoses for the animal, as well as veterinary treatments, vaccines and/or medications provided to the animal. At the time of inspection, the veterinarian must certify, in writing, if the examined animal is fit for sale in New York State. Pet dealers will maintain all veterinarian reports for a period of two years. These reports shall be provided to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs during inspections and to prospective purchasers as part of the animal's medical history. In the event that an animal tests positive for a communicable disease, the animal must receive treatment from the veterinarian and remain in isolation until appropriate testing comes back negative and the animal is found to be healthy by the veterinarian.
J. 
Pet dealers shall maintain an affidavit executed by the individual who holds the New York State pet dealer license, or at least one partner in the case of LLP organizations holding the license, or the President or Executive Director in the case of corporations/LLC organizations holding the license. This affidavit, which shall be updated by January 31 of each year and provided to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs at each inspection, shall contain the following information:
(1) 
A list containing the name, address and USDA license number of every breeder and broker from which the pet dealer sourced animal(s) in the preceding calendar year;
(2) 
The total number of animals obtained from each source during the preceding calendar year;
(3) 
The individual identifying tag, tattoo or collar number for each animal obtained from each source during the preceding calendar year;
(4) 
A certification that the pet dealer received a health certificate from the breeder and broker, if applicable, for each animal it obtained during the preceding calendar year, issued by the animal's state of origin and signed by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of the animal being provided to the pet dealer, which shall be completed in its entirety and contain all applicable animal health information, including, but not limited to, details pertaining to:
(a) 
Rabies vaccination date, tag number and serial number;
(b) 
Any tests, vaccinations or treatment with corresponding dates; and
(c) 
Complete transporter information.
K. 
Pet dealers shall not do business with any person who was previously licensed by the USDA as a breeder or broker but had such license revoked or who voluntarily relinquished same.
L. 
Pet dealers shall not obtain animals from any individual who is convicted in New York State of any crime involving animal abuse or who is listed on the Suffolk County Animal Abuser Registry.
M. 
Pet dealers shall not obtain or be in possession of any animals intended for retail sale that are obtained from sources not authorized pursuant to this article.
A. 
Any primary animal enclosure used to house an animal offered for sale, trade, or give-away shall house a maximum of four animals.
B. 
The required floor space for each animal in an enclosure shall be the number that results from making the following calculation: (length of the largest animal in inches measured from nose to tail +6)2 divided by 144 = required floor space in square feet. For a single animal housed in an enclosure alone, the enclosure's floor space shall be a minimum of two square feet, provided the calculation above would result in a smaller space.
C. 
The interior height of the primary enclosure must be at least six inches higher than the head of the tallest animal when it is in a normal standing position.
D. 
Any enclosure made from wire must contain a resting board of sufficient size for the contained animals to lie, stretch, walk and stand without touching other animals and without touching the sides of the containment structure or wire.
E. 
Animal enclosures shall be stacked no more than two enclosures high. The topmost stacked enclosure must have a solid floor that will not permit food or debris to fall into any lower cage.
F. 
Any primary animal enclosure shall have a tag in Times New Roman font in a minimum font size of 18 points with the following information about each animal which is housed therein:
[Amended 10-5-2016 by L.L. No. 28-2016; 12-18-2018 by L.L. No. 10-2019]
(1) 
Breed of the animal, if known;
(2) 
Sex of the animal;
(3) 
Color or other identifying markers;
(4) 
Date of the animal's birth;
(5) 
The name, state and USDA license number of the breeder;
(6) 
The name, state and USDA license number of the broker, if applicable; and
(7) 
The suggested retail price of the animal, which shall be printed in bold lettering.
Pet dealers and pet stores may use animal enclosures that are stacked three enclosures high if they were purchased and installed by the pet store or pet dealer prior to the effective date of this article, provided that they have solid floors between each level, but this exemption will lapse and terminate five years after this article's effective date. All other requirements associated with animal enclosures shall remain in effect.
A. 
This article shall be enforced by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
B. 
The Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs shall inspect each pet store operating in the County of Suffolk at least once annually and shall make additional inspections of any pet store should it observe or receive credible evidence of violations.
C. 
At the time of inspection by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs, a pet dealer must provide to the Department representative:
[Added 12-18-2018 by L.L. No. 10-2019]
(1) 
Proof of a valid pet dealer license for that location issued pursuant to New York State Agriculture and Markets Law § 403; and
(2) 
Copies of the three most recent USDA inspection reports and state inspection reports, if applicable, for each of the breeders and brokers the pet dealer has purchased animals from in the preceding 12 months.
D. 
Pet dealers shall notify the Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs each time they change retail business locations or open a new location for retail business. Notification shall be due to the Department at the time the New York State pet dealer license for the new location is issued.
[Added 12-18-2018 by L.L. No. 10-2019]
The Commissioner of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to promulgate such rules and regulations as he or she deems necessary to implement the provisions of this article.
A. 
Any pet dealer or pet store which violates any provision of this article shall be assessed a civil fine of $500 per violation. Each individual violation of the provisions shall be considered a separate and distinct offense.
[Amended 10-5-2016 by L.L. No. 28-2016]
B. 
A civil penalty shall only be assessed by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs following a hearing and opportunity for an alleged violator to be heard.
This article shall apply to all actions occurring on or after the effective date of this article.
This article shall take effect 120 days following its filing in the office of the Secretary of State.