Puppy mill moratorium in Canajoharie

Posted at: 09/17/2013 12:57 AM
By: Dan Levy

CANAJOHARIE - The Canajoharie town board voted unanimously on Monday night to impose a one year moratorium on puppy mill operations.

That move comes after word began spreading through the community earlier this year that an Amish farmer had requested a variance so that he could open and operate such a facility. That's when town residents banded together with animal welfare groups to unleash their fury and demand from their elected officials that they prohibit such an enterprise.

"This is a beautiful small area," said Johanna Stock, of Pause 4 All Paws, an animal advocacy group, at a public hearing Monday night,  "Let's set the precedent for all of New York State saying we don't want it here."

Canajoharie Town Hall was packed for the board meeting, with every speaker vehemently opposed to large, commercial, puppy processing farms. Cruelty to the animals was one of issues.

""Whether you're an animal lover or not what these dogs go through is ridiculous," said Kimberly Strong.

There were also community image and economic concerns.

"I can tell you that people from the Capital District will not want to come out here and eat in the restaurants or shop in the stores when they know this kind of abuse is going on locally," asserted Lori Barach Strunk, an animal lover from Palatine Bridge.

When the town board voted unanimously to impose a one year moratorium, the crowd burst into applause, hoping the town will use the time to come up with permanent rules and regulations banning unscrupulous dog breeders.

During the moratorium period, the town planning board will not review any applications for kennels, nor will they issue building permits for that purpose. There will also be investigations by the code enforcement officer for any and all leads or complaints.