12/27/2013 01:03 pm ET Updated Feb 26, 2014

Governor Cuomo, the Animal Rights Community Is Counting On You!

I am a proud animal rights activist. I have been fighting not just for the rights of people, but for the rights of animals for decades, as I believe that all living beings on our planet should be treated humanely and with love. Before this year is over, we have one more order of business to finish in New York State and we are in need of Governor Andrew Cuomo. He has done an extraordinary job as the governor of our great state, and I am proud to call him my friend. But, as my friend, I must deliver this message, as time is of the essence.

With only a few days left in the legislative session, we urgently need Governor Cuomo to sign a game-changing bill that gives local governments and citizens more ability to regulate puppy mills in their communities. Puppy mills are large-scale, inhumane, commercial dog breeding operations that mass-produce puppies for sale through pet stores, over the Internet, and directly to the public. It's not just breeders that are governed by New York's pet dealer regulations -- it's pet stores, too. New York's pet stores support predominantly large-scale, out-of-state puppy mills. Fortunately, the New York Legislature recently passed a game-changing bill that allows local governments to regulate puppy mills and pet stores. Now, Governor Cuomo's signature is needed to make this legislation into law.

We saw the game-changing effort by the animal rights community (led by NYCLASS) in the New York City's mayoral race, as they propelled Bill de Blasio to the lead after he agreed to end the abuse of horses who pull the tourist carriages in Central Park. He was twenty-five points down in the polls, and ended up winning the election easily, because he understood the power this community has. I hosted one of the strategy meetings in my home and saw first-hand the tenacity and commitment that this community has. They organized against the front-runner at the time, Christine Quinn, who vowed to keep the horse carriages going, and she quickly plummeted in the polls. It was the worst political decision she made in her career, even after she sat in my office and I urged her to change her stance. As my friend, I don't want to see this happen to Governor Cuomo, as there are tens of millions of animal rights activists across the country who are watching his move very closely. Of course, I agree with the animal rights community and I proudly join them in urging Governor Cuomo to sign this bill into law immediately.

So if you are a New Yorker, please join this effort by making a brief, polite phone call to my friend, Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390 and urge him to swiftly sign A.740a/S.3753a to allow local communities to crack down on pet dealers that put profit before animal welfare. Wish him a happy new year, but tell him before he pops bottles of champagne, he needs to sign this bill now.