'These animals are not props.' 3 Suffolk businesses accused of selling baby chicks illegally
Giving baby chicks out may seem like a cute Easter gift, but it also could be illegal.
News 12 is told three Suffolk County businesses were busted for allegedly selling day-old chicks to undercover officers.
It's against New York state law to sell chicks younger than 2 months old and in any quantity less than six. Without a flock, chicks can die from a lack of warmth.
"These laws are very important for the welfare of baby animals but also to protect the public because these little babies can carry salmonella, they carry E. coli," says John Dileonardo, of Humane Long Island.
Wayne Meyer, owner of Long Island Poultry, says he did break the law by selling less than six baby chicks, but he believes he had a good reason.
"We sold less than six because somebody that wants two ducklings is forced to take six," Meyer says. "Then they put the other four in a river thinking they'll survive - they don't."
Meyer says he will accept the punishment for his actions but was only doing so to avoid animals being dumped.
The three Suffolk businesses were charged with violating the state's Agriculture and Markets Law. It is a misdemeanor punishable with up to one year in jail and a $500 fine.
Dileonardo is telling people to stick to stuffed animals or chocolate bunnies as gifts for Easter.
"These animals are not props, they're not toys, and they don't belong in Easter baskets," Dileonardo says.