New York could be on its way to banning the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits from pet stores who obtain their animals from large commercial breeders.
If passed, the new bill — sponsored by Queens Sen. Michael Gianeris and Manhattan Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal — will require all pet shops to obtain their animals only from rescue shelters or human societies.
According to Rosenthal, the new legislation would end “the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline.”
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.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) notes on its website that “imprisoned dogs” at puppy mills can suffer from extreme mental and physical difficulties, which are often unapparent until after the animal has been bought.
Rosenthal said in a statement, “unsuspecting customers pay hundreds of dollars for a cute puppy or kitten, only to find that the animal is incurably sick. By ensuring that pet stores can offer only rescues for adoption, this legislation will protect consumers, help to shut down the mills and end the puppy-to-pet store pipeline.”
She added that animal shelters in the city are already packed with animals looking for their “forever home.”
New York has one of the highest concentrations of pet stores in the United States; the new legislation — if passed — will change the lives of hundreds of animals.
This isn’t the first time politicians in New York have attempted to protect dogs, cats, and rabbits from puppy mill-style conditions. According to NBC New York, similar legislation was proposed last year but voted down.
This year, however, supporters are more optimistic, the publication notes, as the Democrats now control both chambers of New York state legislature. If passed this time around, New York will join a number of states that have already banned or moved to ban puppy mills, including Maryland and California.
“Pet stores for everything in their power to sell these dogs, conveniently excluding well-documented health and behavior risks in their pitch to buyers who believe they are going home with a healthy, well-bred puppy,” said Bill Ketzer, the senior director of state legislation for the ASPCA in the Northeast region.
He continued, “we are grateful that Senator Gianaris and Assemblymember Rosenthal are moving the needle forward with this bill to protect pets and consumers.”