May 11, 2022 By Christian Murray
The State Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits.
The bill, introduced by State. Sen. Mike Gianaris, aims to end puppy mills and breeding farms, where animals are typically overbred and often confined to poor living conditions.
Gianaris hopes the legislation will end the puppy mill pipeline to pet stores. He said pet-seekers should instead turn to shelters and rescue organizations to adopt animals in need of a home. Pet store owners, he said, can also work with shelters to organize adoption events at their stores.
“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for pet stores to sell animals that predominantly come from abusive puppy and kitten mills,” Gianaris said in a statement. “Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities.”
The bill passed the Senate Tuesday with a 57-7 vote. Gianaris first introduced the bill in 2018 and while it has passed the senate before it has never become law.
The bill has been introduced in the Assembly and it passed through the Agriculture Committee Tuesday. It has 77 co-sponsors in the Assembly, which consists of 150 members.
“It’s no secret that puppy mills breed cruelty,” said Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the legislation. “The vast majority of dogs, cats and rabbits sold in New York State pet stores come from factory-like mills. I look forward to this bill soon becoming law.”
The law would affect roughly 80 pet stores that are registered to sell domestic animals in the state.
Animal welfare groups celebrated the bill’s passage in the Senate.
“New York State needs to end the sale of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs in pet shops,” ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker said in a statement. “Shutting down the puppy mill pipeline will help stop retail sellers and commercial breeders from engaging in—and profiting from—unconscionable brutality.”
If the bill becomes law, New York would be the sixth state in the nation to ban the sale of dogs and cats from pet shops. California has enacted such a ban, along with Maryland, Maine, Washington and Illinois.
But the bill does have its critics.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, a trade group that represents pet stores, argues that the legislation is misguided.
The trade group says that bad breeders need to be shut down but that this legislation will not do that. It says that bad breeders will go untouched while responsible pet store owners will be forced out of business.
Meanwhile, The American Kennel Club, which represents 217 dog clubs and thousands of dog owners in the state, told the Post-Journal that the bill would limit consumer choice and “have a negative impact on dogs and dog owners in the state.”