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Ball Protests Puppy Mills at Rally in Somers

SOMERS, N.Y. – State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson) has enlisted some dogs to gather support for legislation he proposed to improve the health and quality of life of animals by providing licensed pet dealers with updated standards of care.

Ball held a Puppy Mill Protest on Saturday at Bailey Park in Somers with the help of a small group of animal advocates and some four-legged friends.

"It is my belief that government should stay out of the way of small businesses, but when it is harming animals and families, it's time to intervene," Ball said. "This is very serious stuff. There are a lot of important issues we're dealing with at the state, and sometimes things fall through the cracks, like our animals."

Lisa Giordano, an animal rights advocate and chair of Ball's Animal Advisory Council, said puppy mills often house dogs in horrific conditions, solely for the purpose of breeding. After their fertility wanes, the animals are often killed, abandoned or sold cheaply to another mill.

"Hundreds of thousands of puppies per year are bred in puppy mills, facilities known for their filthy, overcrowded conditions and the unhealthy animals they produce, and the numbers have only been growing," Giordano said.

Ball's bill, which has been voted out of the Senate Agriculture Committee , would require licensed pet dealers to follow stringent guidelines, including allowing regular visits by a veterinarian; developing a program to prevent, control and respond to diseases and injuries; and designating an isolation area for animals that exhibit symptoms of contagious disease or illness to prevent or reduce the spread of the disease to healthy animals.

"I have personally witnessed the terror and fear of a female who has bred over and over," said Marge Gottesman, a volunteer for the SPCA of Westchester. "These animals are helpless victims. This will help stop the inhumane breeding."

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