President’s Message:

Unscrupulous Pet Store Operator Put Out of Business

Pat Valusek, president of New York State Humane Association
Pat Valusek, President of New York State Humane Association.

Great news! After a lengthy investigation, the NYS Attorney General’s (AG’s) Office, working with local authorities, recently put an unscrupulous pet store operator, Richard Doyle — who ran stores in Dutchess and Westchester Counties — out of business in New York State.

Over several years, scores of individuals filed complaints with the AG’s Office when, after purchasing puppies from his pet stores, the puppies became sick with various aliments. Naturally, after having brought puppies home and bonding with them, the various owners did not want to return them. Instead, they spent hundreds of dollars to bring them back to health. Actually, to say “bring back to health” is a misnomer, as they were not healthy to begin with, many having come from various puppy mills.

In addition to stripping Doyle of his NYS pet dealer’s licenses, Doyle has to pay $20,000 in penalties, a portion of which will be given to the complainants to offset the monies they spent treating their puppies.

We had hoped that animal cruelty charges would ensue, but unfortunately, that was not in the cards. Though past employees were willing to provide anecdotal evidence of neglect and other misdeeds, those statements were old and could not be supported by concrete evidence. And sadly, current employees would not provide statements to substantiate the accusations that were swirling about. So the DA’s offices were stymied.

The way to stop the flow of puppy mill dogs is to stop the demand.

What the DA’s Offices did advise was to ask the public not to frequent pet stores that sell commercially bred animals, since in most cases, they are obtained from puppy mills. If you or someone you know is looking for a companion animal, go to the local shelters or to reliable breed rescues. The way to stop the flow of puppy mill dogs is to stop the demand. And, if you want to really do something positive, ask your town or city to create an ordinance or law in your community that bans pet stores from selling commercially bred animals. The Village of Port Chester has done it, so it can be done and should be done across the state.

Always be kind to animals,

Patricia Valusek

New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXXI Winter/Spring 2017.