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Three Dog Nights

Posted by on January 21, 2014

It's an old folk saying: When it's cold out, you sleep with one dog to keep you warm; for even chillier weather, it takes two; but on the coldest of evenings, you need three, making it a three dog night.

Well, the beginning of January was full of three dog nights for much of the nation. We were in a deep freeze, with temperatures dropping into the single digits, with wind chills well below zero. It was the kind of weather where being outside for just a few minutes without proper clothing could be deadly.

In the first few days of 2014, more than 60 dogs at the Flat Creek Border Collies "puppy farm" in Central New York's Montgomery County were kept outside in this frigid weather, their only "shelter" consisting of plastic barrels lined with hay.

When concerned animals lovers complained about this inhumane situation, State Police issued a statement about recent inspections at Flat Creek, saying, "Several visits to the kennel have not revealed any violations of New York State Law or local codes. The Owner of the kennel has provided shelter, food and heated water as required."

Are you shocked? You should be. But the chilling fact is that, under woefully inadequate New York State law, such horrific conditions are deemed acceptable. Yep, it's perfectly legal to keep breeding dogs in overcrowded, filthy, cold cages in the outdoors throughout the day and night. Although the law does specify certain "standards of care"--dogs are required to have adequate space to move around, for example-- the cage size can be as little as six inches bigger than the dog on all sides.

They call that adequate? Just imagine your precious pet living in such a small space 24 hours a day.

And when it comes to temperature, the Minimal Standards of Animal Care reads as follows: "The temperature surrounding the animal shall be compatible with the health and well-being of the animal. Temperature shall be regulated to protect each animal from extremes and shall not be permitted to fall below ranges which would pose a health hazard to the animal."

Huh? If you think that's vague (at best), you're right. In practice, it means nothing.

I'm proud to say that North Shore Animal League America stepped up to the plate to make sure the precious dogs at Flat Creek were rescued from this potentially deadly situation. We sent two of our Mobile Rescue & Adoption Units to the site; working with the Montgomery County SPCA and the Glen Highland Farm Sweet Border Collie Rescue, our Emergency Rescue Team brought the dogs onboard our Mobile Unit so that the SPCA could examine them. Now, the dogs are now in the protective custody of the Montgomery County SPCA and the Glen Highland Farm Sweet Border Collie Rescue.

While these dogs are now safe, such horrific situations are commonplace at puppy mills.

There is some very good news in the battle against mills in New York. On January 9, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed into law a landmark bill that will allow local municipalities in New York State to pass legislation to regulate the care of animals by breeders, stores and other dealers.

Despite strong efforts against the bill by pet industry lobbyists, our Governor did the right thing, and we are very thankful to him for standing up to those interests and putting the interests of animals first.

But in order for this new law to have an impact, we must let our local politicians know that we demand they take action! Please click here to read more about this bill, including some guidelines on possible ideas to suggest to your legislators.

As always, thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting North Shore Animal League America's mission to rescue, nurture and adopt animals in need. Together, we can make the life-saving difference!


Beth Stern

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