Matawan bans sale of ‘puppy mill’ pets

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By VASHTI HARRIS
Staff Writer

MATAWAN-Taking a stand against commercial canine and feline breeding facilities, the Borough Council passed an ordinance prohibiting pet stores in town from selling dogs and cats from puppy and kitten mills.

The council passed the ordinance in a 6-0 vote at its monthly meeting on May 16.

A pet shop may offer for sale only dogs and cats that it has obtained from or displays in cooperation with an animal care facility or an animal rescue organization. Furthermore, a pet shop shall not offer for sale a dog or cat that is younger than eight weeks old, according to the ordinance.

The governing body finds that it is in the best interests of the borough to adopt reasonable regulations to protect the citizens of the municipality who may purchase cats or dogs from a pet shop; help prevent an inhumane environment in the borough, according to the ordinance.

“You know when you go to the mall and [at certain pet stores] they have all of these expensive specialty dogs, they usually come from ‘puppy mills’ and they literally produce these dogs, I not sure what kind of conditions [but] maybe they’re not great, I brought one year’s ago and there was some medical issues. This [ordinance] prevents that type of store from coming into our borough,” Mayor Joseph Altomonte said.

This ordinance will not affect a consumer’s ability to obtain a dog or cat of his or her choice directly from a breed-specific rescue organization or shelter, or from a hobby breeder where the consumer can see directly the conditions in which the dogs or cats are bred, or can confer directly with the hobby breeder concerning those conditions, according to the ordinance.

Currently there are no pet stores that sell dogs or cats in the borough.

Loretta Windas, a senior member of the Animal Advisory Committee said that this ordinance was created to let puppy and kitten mill providers know that they cannot sell dogs and cats in the borough.

“Basically [this ordinance] was created to send a message and I realize that there are no pet selling stores in the borough. This ordinance is similar to other ordinances that was passed in other towns. [Pet providers] can still open up a store in the borough, but this ordinance let’s them know that that type of business will not be welcomed,” Windas said.

Before passing the dogs and cats ordinance, the council passed two resolutions allowing Precise Construction to work on the soil borings on Main Street and do various removals as part of phase one of the Gravelly Brook Park Improvements Program on Saturdays for a 90-day period.

“When we had a pre-construction meeting the contractor asked if it would be a problem to work on Saturdays if they needed to work on a Saturday or two and if so would [the council and myself] approve it. Then from there I said ‘instead of just approving one or two [Saturdays] why don’t I just add 90 days to the time [Precise Construction] starts to complete the project,'” Altomonte said.

Construction on Main Street and Gravelly Brook Park was set to begin on May 17, according to Altomonte.

The Gravelly Brook Park Improvements Program aims to improve the park’s overall appearance. For phase one of this program construction workers will knock down a building near the park, take out the basketball court, the playground, add a sprinkler system, add fences, fix the drainage system, the baseball dig out and add field lines on the recreational fields, according to Altomonte.

Furthermore, construction workers will conduct tests to see what kind of soil is along Main Street so that they can determine how deep they will have to put columns for future lighting fixtures and a sign, according to Altomonte.

The Main Street Streetscape is a project planned to improve the appearance of Main Street. Currently the project is in phase two of its improvements.

“The Matawan Main Street Streetscape phase two project is a continuation and enhancement of the phase one  project already completed. It will improve the appearance of the downtown and historic district of Matawan, and make it accessible for patrons, residents and commuters. A major benefit of this project is that it will provide a pleasant ambiance in downtown and historic Matawan, and an appropriate setting for the numerous historic buildings in town. Patrons will have safe and amicable walking accessibility to the library, post office, shops and restaurants as a result of the proposed improvements,” Altomonte said in a prepared statement.

For more information visit www.matawanborough.com/matawan/.

Contact Vashti Harris at [email protected].