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Council Urged: Act on 'Puppy Store' Ban

Animal advocates come to township council meeting

A number of animal advocates from across the state came to Tuesday evening's council meeting to urge the governing body to move on a proposed town-wide ban of stores that sell puppies.

The proposal, first put forth by Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis, would prevent establishments from selling more than 10 dogs or cats per year.

"We need to protect and speak for the voiceless," said Jody Davis of Freehold, who came to this week's meeting. "The conditions in puppy stores are often painful and uncomfortable for the animals."

A subcommittee of three council members – Susan Lydecker, Domenick Brando and Dan Toth – is now researching the issue.

Some people expressed concerns that the effort to ban puppy stores – which are often registered as kennels rather than pet stores – could preclude local, small breeders from selling puppies as well.

Additionally, there has been some concern over an option to refuse to grandfather in the one remaining business – Breeders Association of America, Inc. – already selling puppies in town.

Toth said a previous effort to shut out a business – an adult book store on Chambers Bridge Road – resulted in litigation.

"The township was trying to be progressive and satisfy the wants of the community … however legally operating within the confines of the law, government had no right to be putting them out of business," said Toth.

"If we do an ordinance of this nature, we have to make sure it is tailored properly."

Acropolis urged the council to work with the township attorney to come up with an ordinance soon, perhaps splitting ordinances that deal with stores versus small breeders.

"From talking to the township attorney, we may be able to split those, and get something done sooner," he said.

The 'puppy store' issue came to light after one such store, Puppies Galore, was shut down by authorities in January. The store has since lost its license and the puppies – nearly all of which were sick at the time they were removed from the Hooper Avenue storefront – have been surrendered by the owner, Maria De Santis.

A criminal animal cruelty case against De Santis and store manager Nathan 'Nat' Sladkin is currently moving through the legal system.

Animal advocates charge that stores that sell puppies often purchase dogs from so-called "puppy mills" where animals are used solely for breeding and housed in inhumane conditions.

Ken March 29, 2012 at 12:08 AM
It's called a "knee Jerk reaction " or shooting from the hip which the town is famous for. You can't tell every book by It's cover. Just saying!
june March 29, 2012 at 12:40 AM
With all the sick puppies that come out of Breeders Association they should be shut down. Just ask the local vets and they can confirm.
Seen Enough March 29, 2012 at 01:28 AM
"A number of animal advocates from across the state came to Tuesday evening's council meeting to urge the governing body to move on a proposed town-wide ban of stores that sell puppies." ""We need to protect and speak for the voiceless," said Jody Davis of Freehold, who came to this week's meeting." "A subcommittee of three council members – Susan Lydecker, Domenick Brando and Dan Toth – is now researching the issue." Now this might sound cruel but if it is a state level problem let the state correct it. The last thing this council needs is to be tied up dealing with people from Freehold. How about these 3 council members research reducing taxes. Susan Lydecker don't you have some campaign promises to deliver?? Domenick Brando and Dan Toth, isn't there 70 plus families here in town waiting on you to deal with another issue??? ""If we do an ordinance of this nature, we have to make sure it is tailored properly." Acropolis urged the council to work with the township attorney to come up with an ordinance soon, perhaps splitting ordinances that deal with stores versus small breeders." How about letting Ducey and his fellow law firms located in the town deal with the state on this on a probono basis?? That way it doesn't cost the taxpayer anything. This council has enough on its plate last time I checked. Freehold residents telling our council what needs to be addressed, now I have heard everything.
Mike March 29, 2012 at 09:24 AM
There were many Brick residents there in support of the pet store ban. I was one of them. The reason the woman from Freehold spoke is that she's incredibly knowledgeable and wanted to share her information about the pet store industry and its connection to puppy mills.
Seen Enough March 29, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Mike do you really think these 3 council members are capable of solving this issue? Dan Toth already said the last time they tried to do something similar the town got involved with a lawsuit. Let the law firms in the township handle this on a probono basis. Let them get the lobbyists in Trenton involved. Let the council focus on the issues at hand. I think the 70 plus families in Public Works deserve an answer before our council turns its attention to animal rights. Please they were elected to do a job and like it or not this is not the one they need to focus on nor are they capable of handling. I'm sure there are many residents in support of this issue but there are also many more residents interested in seeing this council reduce taxes. The store is closed, its time to focus! It looks like like the mayor and the new council found something to agree on and neither are focusing 100% on the immediate problems facing the township.
peteypete March 30, 2012 at 02:34 AM
i am attempting to make it thru the council meeting being aired on ch. 20. how many meetings are going to be hijacked by these out of town dog lovers ?? the council made it clear to each and every speaker the last few months that they are working on an ordinance. why have 10 different speakers get up each meeting and annoy the actual taxpayers of this town ???
Michelle M March 30, 2012 at 03:21 AM
How about the people who are complaining about tax dollars and other business the town should be handling get a grip. Like it or not we all will have taxes and it's an unfair world. You either push through or get trampled while feeling sorry for yourself. What about people who have no kids but live in towns that have 3-4 highschools alone paying taxes out the ass? There are always a few who just like to complain and I see that from these comments. I wasn't able to make it to the meeting but I would have if my schedule allowed it. People can speak and make things better for themselves, animals don't have a voice and can't change their situations on their own. Humans are the ones who have overbred them for profit and throw them away when they can't produce anymore puppies. They don't ask to have more puppies and the puppies don't choose to be kept in cages with unhealthy living conditions. It's the greed in people who have caused such a overwhelming amount of breeding and then people who don't find their puppies so cute after they get bigger. Have some compassion and open your mind to everything. It's sad to see such ignorance to a problem that is not just going in in 1 little town ( that I went to private school in ) it's a country wide problem and if there were no one helping this issue we would have even more animals running around then we already do.
Seen Enough March 30, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Michelle M Are you kidding me... you said "it's a country wide problem" and Susan Lydecker, Domenick Brando and Dan Toth are going to solve it? enough said The store is closed the last I heard, get a grip, go march on Trenton or Washington DC and see how far you get
Mike March 30, 2012 at 09:24 AM
There is still a store in Brick. Breeders Association of America next to Five Guys on Rt 70. And "Seen Enough", you don't need to worry about a lawsuit because they're going to grandfather this store in. As a Brick resident, I'm concerned about my taxes. But I'm also concerned about the horrific abuse of dogs in puppy mills that get sold to pet stores. Nothing is happening at the higher level to fix this problem, so why not have the towns starting to set a precedent and standing up against this mistreatment? And the council is focusing on the budget issues first. This was stated at the meeting.
Seen Enough March 30, 2012 at 01:52 PM
If no one buys they go out of business, if no one buys the business model collapses, all stores close, problem solved, no government intervention. If it bothers you that much go find a lawyer to handle this on a probono basis at a higher level. "so why not have the towns starting to set a precedent and standing up against this mistreatment" Stephen C. Acropolis, Susan Lydecker, Domenick Brando and Dan Toth, Puppy crisis solvers, sounds like a reelection campaign platform!
Mike March 30, 2012 at 02:08 PM
The problem is, people are buying because the business is deceptive and it lies to the consumer. How will it go out of business?
Seen Enough March 30, 2012 at 03:08 PM
you answered your own question "people are buying"
Portia March 31, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Here's to having faith that the Council will consider their original comments/position, deliberate, and conclude that God's innocent creatures are worthy of our PROTECTION! Moreover, it is not good business to mistreat animals and sell unfit for sale product to the unsuspecting consumer.
Thomas Anthony March 31, 2012 at 06:22 PM
The sale of "unfit for sale" puppies needs to stop. I would urge the governing body to act judiciously and do what is right to end the inhumane treatment of animals from the likes of Sladkin and DeSantis. Does anyone know if the operators of Puppies Galore have received sentencing or have they continued to ADJOURN and delay justice?
Seen Enough April 01, 2012 at 01:56 AM
and what happens when they set up shop in the next town??? You gonna make another demand? This is not a municipal issue, take it to Trenton.
clamdigger April 01, 2012 at 02:21 AM
it's funny that all those who are against the store owner here,but pick up any newspaper and look in the classified ads at pets for sale, who is watching over all those people? I've been seeing the same ads in there for YEARS and yet not a word on that in any discussion regarding this but I guess all those people are OK because they're not in a retail store but selling under the table and doing it for those people who really love animals.
frances April 01, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Propose a viable solution because no one individual can deny that the unsuspecting consumer is being sold "defective" products (disturbingly - live, breathing beings) and animals will continue to suffer at the hands of mankind until something is done to protect them.
Jan Fisher April 01, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Seen enough. I think you are wrong there. This IS a municipal issue which is why the State of New Jersey specifically set forth in N.J.S.A. 4:19-15.8 (License for kennel, pet shop, shelter or pound) "The municipality may issue a license for a pet shop that permits the pet shop to sell pet supplies for all types of animals, including cats and dogs, and sell animals other than cats and dogs, BUT restricts the pet shop from selling cats or dogs, or both." So, this is NOT a case for Trenton. TRENTON does not license pet stores. Municipalities do and, therefore, they may also choose to "unlicense" them.
Jan Fisher April 01, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Seen enough: Please keep in mind that the existing store will be grandfathered in. This means that their license will remain in full force and effect. NO NEW PET STORES will be allowed, should this ordinance pass. Should this pet store close its doors and move to another town, let's hope that this town also has a ban in effect. If you understand the way in which these mass commercial breeders do business, you would agree - unless you don't like animals.
Seen Enough April 02, 2012 at 12:52 AM
1) you are not going to legislate this one town at a time, how many towns are their in NJ? 2) on the other hand maybe we should pass a law that way we can ship Stephen C. Acropolis, Susan Lydecker, Domenick Brando and Dan Toth on to the next town. 3) realistically people are buying no municipal is going to stop this
Jan Fisher April 02, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Change ALWAYS begins somewhere and usually at a slow pace. Therefore, legislation over the course of time, albeit one town at a time, will have a significant impact on the horrific puppy mill business. It may not even be during my lifetime but it WILL change. As people become more educated and towns refuse to be a part of this business, reputable breeders will be the retailers of pets. If we do NOTHING, then we know nothing will change. I would prefer to make slow change over the long haul then to throw my hands up in the air and give up. As far as shipping these 4 individuals to another town, you are entitled to your own opinion. My daughter and son-in-law live in Brick. They too want the budget issues resolved but it doesn't diminish for them the importance of the puppy mill/pet store connection. If you comprehended what the council said at the meeting, they ARE, in fact, taking care of the budget issues FIRST.
Jan Fisher April 02, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Please...do you really think that any of us are happy about backyard breeders selling in the newspapers? Our focus, right now, is on the local pet stores because we KNOW where those puppies come from. We have records. They come from breeders that breed on average between 100 to over 500 dogs at a time. This is worse than any local backyard breeder you can imagine and THAT is why we focus on this.
Seen Enough April 02, 2012 at 03:33 AM
"Change ALWAYS begins somewhere and usually at a slow pace." thats why prostitution and drugs are still around, people are buying, if there is a market people will supply it, no matter what the Brick council does I'm not for it but Dan Toth and others are not going to save the puppies, find another way
clamdigger April 02, 2012 at 09:35 AM
go ahead an fight your fight Jan the way you think you should,everyone needs a cause in life, threre are so many other bigger issues and fish to fry in this country,to me this isn't a real issue. If as you say you "KNOW where those puppies come from. We have records." why not go directly to the source instead of focusing on the store itself. The way you are attacking this is like closing down 1 crack house so the group can move to the next one all the while knowing where the main sources are but not focusing on them. Good luck, but it sounds like you'll be chasing your tails for quite a while. Maybe you can make a new tv show for animal planet, the Puppy Mill Police where you can get funding and tv coverage.
Jan Fisher April 02, 2012 at 12:30 PM
clamdigger: There are large organizations going after the puppy mills but, as usual, this is a political thing and difficult to eradicate. It is a MONEY MAKER and the puppy mills have a history of making large political donations. These puppy mills are not located in NJ and we cannot possibly fly to the mid-west to do this kind of work when other large advocates are doing this. Therefore, we will battle it at the retail end on a local level. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt because it doesn't appear that you know much about the business. Otherwise, I could not understand any human being condoning this kind of business and mocking those that try to make a difference. However, to each their own. I have a sneaky suspicion that you are "all talk" and, if you actually experienced a puppy mill dog, you would soften your views.
Jan Fisher April 02, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Seen Enough: If we knew another way, we would try it. I am finished defending my belief that helping the plight of the mass bred dogs in puppy mills is the right thing to do. If it really makes you content to have more pet stores selling puppies opening up in town with the potential to have another Puppies Galore, then don't support us. This issue is taking NOTHING away from you and it is ridiculous to even have this discourse. I respect your right to comment but I don't agree and I am finished defending something that needs no defending. Lets just say that if everyone had your attitude, there would be NO change - EVER. It is our right to try and we will.

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