U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, said the puppy mill situation in the United States is "intolerable" and promised to look into it further.
A question about puppy mills was asked during a Wednesday night meeting of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Civic Association.
Bishop and his opponent in the coming congressional election, Randy Altschuler, R-St. James, had both been scheduled to speak briefly at the meeting, but FRNCA president Brad Bender said Altschuler could not attend.
After detailing the accomplishments of which he is most proud over his ten years in office, including keeping the Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing at Francis S. Gabreski in Westhampton -- and securing 1200 jobs there -- as well as helping to save 1000 jobs at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Bishop engaged in a question-and-answer session with residents.
Charles O'Brien of Hampton Bays asked about puppy mills and whether Bishop had any plans to support an ag and market amendment that woud prohibit the sale of puppies that come from "abominable puppy mills in the Midwest."
The puppies, he said, "are bred as livestock yet sold as companion animals and live in gruesome conditions." O'Brien added that sales of the puppies support the industry. "The sales happen here," he said. "The only way we can prevent this cruelty is to ban the sale of puppies on Long Island."
O'Brien suggested Bishop go to the Companion Animal Protection Society website. For months, CAPS protestors have been demonstrating outside the Puppy Experience in Aquebogue to raise awareness about puppy mills; the owner of the shop has said his business is being targeted and said litigation will commence.
Bishop pointed out that the amendment, and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, involve the state; there is no federal equivalency.
Still, Bishop said he would "make himself familiar with the issue" and support the amendment. "I agree, the situation is intolerable," he said.
Looking back over his career, Bishop also said he has solved over 15,000 constituent cases; helped to bring the federal government to the table and bring monies to Horton Avenue residents ravaged by flooding in Riverhead, and "carved out a reputation as a leader in the formulation of policy as it relates to higher education."
Bishop said he has written legislation to increase maximum Pell grants for college students by $1000, and worked to shutter a "wasteful student loan program" and lower student loan interest rates.
"Both programs are imperiled and I'm fighting hard to keep them in place," Bishop said.
The congressman also said he has worked to spoltight the maintenance of clean water and wastewater, "incredibly important" on the East End, where "so much of our economy is related to the quality" of surface waters.
"I've done what you've sent me to Washington to do," Bishop said.
Carl Iacone asked about issues including a zip code for the area; Bishop said he will keep trying.
Homeless sex offender trailers were also mentioned; Bishop reminded that the trailers were placed in their Riverside and Westhampton locations by Suffolk County.
"It seems that government is just passing us by," Iacone said. "You have an outstanding record but in our community, you're slacking."
Also discussed were escalating gas prices; Bishop said he is co-sponsor of legislation that would "reign in rampant speculation" that causes the spikes. Bishop said speculation is the reason for price fluctuation.
Bishop told residents he would not support a voucher system to replace Medicare and said his opponent does support the initiative.
"I hope you get out and vote on Nov. 6," Bishop concluded. "I've been honored to have your support and to serve you, and, if I am elected to continue, you will have one of the hardest working members of Congress in your corner."