SOURCE: New York Pet Welfare Association

January 22, 2015 12:47 ET

New York Pet Welfare Association Launches

Will Educate Public, Legislators and Pet Owners About Best Animal Welfare Practices

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jan 22, 2015) - A group of pet store owners from New York City and other jurisdictions, U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed dog breeders and brokers, veterinarians and nonprofit associations have united to form the New York Pet Welfare Association (NYPWA). The NYPWA was formed to educate the public and policy makers about the responsible pet industry, educate pet industry professionals and advocate for responsible public policy that promotes healthy puppies and other pets.

"We are dedicated to providing reasoned, medically sound information about best practices for the welfare of pets in New York," said NYPWA President Cynthia Daluise. 

Pointing to a recently enacted New York City law mandating the spaying of all puppies and kittens by eight weeks of age, Daluise noted, "Too often, the loudest voices drown out the voices of reason."

She explained that the new law mandates a surgical procedure, replacing the professional judgment of a veterinarian on a case-by-case basis. 

"Despite their best intentions," she said, "the city, in fact, is promoting animal cruelty."

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Nancy Halpern, an attorney at the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP, explained that under the laws governing the practice of veterinary medicine in New York "it is incumbent upon a veterinarian to determine whether an animal can withstand the rigors of anesthesia and the trauma of surgery. If, in a vet's professional judgment, surgery will jeopardize the health and welfare of a patient, a requirement to do so constitutes animal cruelty."

Daluise noted that many animal welfare organizations advocate spaying puppies and kittens but not at such an early age.

"While spay and neuter may be perfectly safe for pets before they reach maturity," she said, "a mandate jeopardizes the health and welfare of the many puppies and kittens who are not mature and healthy enough for the surgery."

Daluise further pointed out that the new law also prevents pet stores from purchasing puppies from certain USDA-licensees. As result, many pet stores will have to close unless this new law, which takes effect June 1, 2015, is amended to remove the spaying requirement and the prohibition against buying from properly licensed animal dealers.

"Pet stores cannot survive if they have to comply with another law that subjects them to being charged with animal cruelty under yet another law and cuts off a legitimate source of puppies," she said. "Perhaps the courts will reconcile this conflict and remove the prohibition, but by that time the city will lose many wonderful pet stores."

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