WESTWOOD, N.J. – Protesting puppy mills wasn’t enough for Robike Noll-Faries of Westwood.
The animal activist is pushing local governments to pass ordinances that would force pet shops to sell only dogs and cats that come from animal care groups.
The issue came to the fore after Vincent LoSacco, owner of Just Pups, was hit with hundreds of violations for incidents at his Just Pups stores in Paramus, Emerson, and East Brunswick. Under public pressure, he cleared out his Paramus location earlier this month.
A total of 42 New Jersey towns, mostly in Central Jersey, have passed ordinances that would outlaw stores such as Just Pups.
“In North Jersey, Westwood and Emerson will be pioneers,” said an elated Noll-Faries. “Westwood has decided to sign a resolution endorsing the idea on May 17 and will consider adopting the ordinance.”
In Emerson, Mayor Louis Lamatina said the ordinance has not been introduced but will be discussed at future council meetings.
Noll-Faries got the ball rolling in both towns and has approached others with a letter introducing mayors to the ordinance.
The law was drafted by Alan Barslow, an animal rights supporter and organizer in Cherry Hill, which also has passed it.
“I sent the letter to the mayor in Old Tappan, which is going to consider it as well,” said Noll-Faries, who is land use administrator in that borough.
Additionally, she supports state Senate Bill 63, sponsored by Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union), which would have the same effect as the local ordinances.
For years Noll-Faries has volunteered with Animal Aid USA and Bow Wows and Meows Pet Rescue to bring adoptable, healthy animals from Georgia and Alabama, respectively, to New Jersey.
She kicked up her activism in 2012 when she realized people didn’t know the expensive puppies they buy in stores often are sick because they are ripped from their mothers too soon and maltreated.
A feeling for the welfare of animals runs in her family. Noll-Faries grew up in Holland, where her grandmother raised German Shepherds and was one of the founders of that country’s first animal rights organization. Her daughter, Karly McIlwain, works for the Environmental Defense Fund.