Supervisor Yvette Aguiar at recent a town board meeting. Photo: Alek Lewis

Unfortunately, a discussion regarding puppy mills at a recent work session was taken out of content and it is important to note, puppy mills are and should never be supported. As a former Law enforcement officer, my career was built on doing the right thing for the community and help safeguard the community, in an effort for people to live in harmony. No one in our society should ever condone abuse of animals and people.

I have a 11-year-old Golden Retriever, who was purchased from a commercial pet store in Queens with an American Kennel Club certification, not a puppy mill, which was in existence for over 50 years. In addition, we have raised puppies for the past 5 years. These dogs become life support companions for the visually impaired, veterans, and children in need, and it is our way of giving back to society.

The intentional misinformation put forth in online comments recently stems from certain groups and political supporters, who have not asked for my personal viewpoint and put forth misinformation in an effort to promote their own political agenda during an election year. Putting fear in people in an effort to slander a candidate, should not be tolerated in our community.

Recently, Councilman Rothwell asked for a discussion on puppy mills, after the discussion, I became aware there was a pending State legislation. It became important for us to both take a harder look with the Town Attorney to ensure the legislation was appropriately addressed. This is our responsibility as Legislators.

No resolution was passed, and no vote was casted. The discussion item was a conversion about possibly putting forth legislation banning puppy mills in the future. Thereafter, a public hearing will be held to hear from the entire public. These actions are part of a process and should be the guiding principle of good governance.

I asked for additional time to comprehensibly review the New York State legislation – S. 4234–A and A. 6298–A and other legislations regarding the subject at hand. After the discussion, I became aware of the State legislation no one was aware of during the discussion. What is wrong with saying, we have new information and let’s take an informed look at the State legislation, which was not known to us? nothing!!!

I wholeheartedly support legislation banning puppy mills. However, we all need to ensure the legislation is appropriately researched and written. It is our job to become fully informed as Legislators.
In addition, we need to ensure commercial pet stores owners and our farmers who follow the State regulations do not become collateral damage in this effort. Again, an open discussion and working on the appropriate legislation is the foundation of what good governance should be based on.

For the record, I have never supported and will never support puppy mills. I personally do not know anyone who supports animal abuse and I hope to never know such a person. Enough of the political driven attacks. Political candidates should run for office based on their record, ability to lead, credentials, and working with the entire community, not engaging their political supporters to point fingers to create public fear. Anything further is harmful to our community and an abuse of what good government should stand for.

Yvette Aguiar is supervisor of the Town of Riverhead. She lives in Riverhead.

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