Legislation would ban sale of puppies, other animals in New York pet shops

The only thing holding up a bill to ban the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits at New York pet stores is Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature.

The Puppy Mill Pipeline bill was passed with bipartisan support by the state’s Legislature in early June, according to the news release from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a bill supporter.

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris co-sponsored the bill in what they said was an effort to prevent breeders from passing off their mistreated animals to would-be pet owners.

“Puppy, kitty and bunny mills use and abuse animals to churn out pets for sale, which are often riddled with congenital diseases, that cost unsuspecting consumers hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinary bills and incalculable emotional stress” Ms. Rosenthal said in the release.

The New York Times reported that several pet stores throughout New York City and Albany have been the subject of lawsuits from the state attorney general’s office for selling ill or abused puppies from unauthorized breeders.

One company on Long Island was sued by the state AG last year for selling nine puppies that died from serious diseases soon after they were sold, according to the Times.

Mike Bober is the head of Pet Advocacy Network, a national pet trade association. He told the Times that he’s not disputing the presence of bad actors in the industry.

Still, that doesn’t change the fact that breeders are “deeply offended and frustrated by the fact that people willingly and intentionally misrepresent the state of breeding in the country,” he said.

Mr. Bober told the paper that such laws are disruptive to business, too.

He cited data that showed that when California instituted a ban on in-store pet sales in 2019, only two of the state’s 28 stores that sold puppies remained in business two years after the ban went into effect.

Pet ownership data compiled by the Humane Society, a bill supporter, pointed to the American Veterinary Medical Association sourcebook from 2017-18 that showed that only 6% of people acquired their dog from a pet store and only 3% acquired their cat from a pet store that year.

In the 2021-22 American Pet Products Association survey, also cited by the Humane Society, 9% of people acquired their dog from a pet store and 8% people acquired their cat from one.

Ms. Hochul hasn’t publicly commented on the bill. She has until the end of the year to sign it.

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