The New York State Senate has passed a pet store ban to prohibit the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits.
The bill—S.1130—aims to put an end to commercial breeding operations, also known as puppy mills. It is sponsored by Queens Senator Michael Gianaris and is also supported by a number of animal welfare organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, and Animal Legal Defense Fund.
“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,” Gianaris said in a statement.
The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Gianaris and Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal in 2018. It passed in the New York State Senate in 2019; however, it did not make it to the floor of the Assembly.
But Gianaris has high hopes for the bill this year. “We’re seeing some progress in the Assembly this year. Hopefully, we get this enacted before the session is out,” he told Pix11 news.
Once approved, the legislation will take effect one year after its passage. Pet stores will be unable to sell pets obtained from breeders. However, it encourages pet shops to work with animal rescue groups and humane societies to offer their animals up for adoption.
New York Pet Store Ban
A puppy mill—also referred to as a puppy farm—is a dog breeding facility that intensively, and in many cases, inhumanely, breeds dogs for sale. Puppies sold in pet stores are typically obtained from these mills.
Puppy mills often raise animals in deplorable living conditions without adequate veterinary care, shelter, and food.
“If consumers knew where the puppies, kittens and rabbits sold at pet stores came from they would be appalled. The conditions and treatment these animals endure is inexcusable,” said Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation, a supporter of the bill. “This bill stops pet stores and unwitting consumers from bolstering an inhumane industry.
Last year, an undercover investigation by the Humane Society found several puppy mills in Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri were raising dogs in “conditions that are a far cry from the happy and comfortable settings pet stores typically claim their puppies come from.” Twenty New York pet stores bought puppies from several of these breeders.
New York has one of the highest concentrations of pet stores in the U.S. And the new legislation could change the lives of hundreds of animals.
“Shutting down the puppy mill pipeline will help stop unscrupulous breeders from engaging in—and profiting from—unconscionable brutality,” Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to see the Senate pass this bill, and we look forward to working with Senator Gianaris and Assemblymember Rosenthal to advance the bill through the full Legislature to make it law, signaling New York’s determination to reject animal cruelty statewide.”