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Politics

Senate Passes Gianaris Bill Banning Retail Sales of Dogs, Cats, and Rabbits

ALBANY – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced on May 11 that the State Senate passed his legislation (S.1130/A.4283) banning the retail sale of animals in pet stores. The bill aims to shut down the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline, cutting off one of the largest markets in the nation for animals bred for pet stores. Senator Gianaris’ full floor speech on the bill is available for viewing on YouTube:

“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 Michael Gianaris. “I am pleased this important proposal continues to advance in the legislature.”

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.

The bill, which first passed the Senate last year, is also advancing in the State Assembly, where it was passed through committee yesterday.

Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), Chair of the Committee on Social Services said: “It’s no secret that puppy mills breed cruelty, but many people still do not realize that when you buy an animal from a pet store, you are unwittingly supporting puppy mills. The vast majority of dogs, cats and rabbits sold in New York State pet stores come from factory-like mills and we have seen countless families duped into paying top dollar for sick animals from these stores. Over the years we have tried to regulate pet stores, but the industry continues to prioritize profits over the welfare of animals. The only way to finally shut down puppy mills is to end the puppy mill to pet store pipeline, and I am so pleased that the State Senate passed this bill sponsored by State Senator Gianaris. Stores that sell live animals are a dying breed while the pet supply industry is a multi-billion-dollar business. With 77 cosponsors in the Assembly, I look forward to this bill soon becoming law.”

Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO said: “Having one of the country’s highest concentrations of pet stores that sell puppies, New York State needs to end the sale of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs in pet shops by finally passing the New York Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill.  Shutting down the puppy mill pipeline will help stop retail sellers and commercial breeders from engaging in— and profiting from— unconscionable brutality. We are thrilled to see the Senate pass this bill, and we look forward to working with Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Rosenthal to advance the bill through the full Legislature to make it law, signaling New York’s determination to reject animal cruelty statewide.”

Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris also joined his fellow Queens County legislators in celebrating Queens Day at the State Capitol on May 10. This annual event promotes small business and tourism throughout the borough. Queens Day is hosted each year by the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

“If you want to see all the world, you only need to visit Queens. I’m honored to represent a borough with the best neighborhoods, restaurants, small businesses, parks, and baseball team in the world,” said Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris. “This is a great way to celebrate all we have to offer and show the rest of the state who we are as a people.”

Video of Senator Gianaris’ remarks is available online:

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