ALBANY – New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal announced legislation (S.1130/A.4283) to prohibit sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits in retail pet stores was approved by both the Senate and Assembly Agriculture Committees, the first procedural hurdle to the bill becoming a law.
“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for puppy mills that abuse animals to supply pet stores. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities,” said Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris. “I am pleased this important proposal continues to build momentum in the legislature.”
“New York State has a real opportunity to shut down the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline once and for all and to provide homes to so many animals in need of fur-ever families,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). “Despite all regulations, the vast majority of animals for sale in pet stores still come from puppy mills, which are places of unimaginable cruelty. Until we pass this law to stop the sales of dogs and cats in pet stores, more well-meaning animal lovers will be duped into buying sick animals that will cost them both financially and emotionally.
Most of the animals available for sale in pet stores come from notorious dog, cat and bunny mills, which are known to be inhumane. Offspring of mill animals often have congenital issues resulting from poor breeding and can cost families thousands of dollars in veterinary care.
Pet breeders and stores are loosely regulated under the Animal Welfare Act by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Recent investigations revealed, however, that under the Trump administration, USDA inspectors have been less aggressive in enforcing these regulations. In addition, the USDA is issuing fewer serious violations that would ordinarily trigger swift follow-up by the agency.
According to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the state agency tasked with regulating pet dealers, there are approximately 80 pet stores registered throughout the state.
Senator Michelle Hinchey, Agriculture Committee Chair said: “There is no excuse for the abuse of animals that happens in puppy mills across the country. This legislation, which I am proud to have passed through the Agriculture Committee, takes us a step closer to ending this practice by cutting off one of the puppy mills largest markets. I am pleased to have worked with Senator Gianaris on this important legislation.”
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chair of the Assembly Codes Committee said: “There is no denying that humans love animal companions, but there is also no denying that animals should never be pipelined into pet shops when there are so many animals who have already been abandoned or given up to the animal shelter system. We should be doing everything we can to encourage people to adopt instead of shop, and this legislation takes a large step forward in this effort. Thank you to Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal for her steadfast advocacy of this legislation for so many years, and I encourage my colleagues to join in support of this important bill to protect the lives of animals.”