Jun 7, 2022 By Christian Murray
The state legislation that aims to ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits is closer to becoming law than ever before.
The bill, which has been championed in the state senate by Mike Gianaris for years, passed the Assembly last week for the first time after several failed attempts in the past. The senate version of the bill gained passage on May 10– and has passed with relative ease in prior years.
This is the first time the legislation that calls for the end of puppy mills and breeding farms has passed both legislative chambers and it now sits on Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk awaiting her signature. This is the first time the legislation—despite repeated attempts—has made its way to a sitting New York governor.
Gianaris, who represents western Queens, hopes the legislation will end the puppy mill pipeline to pet stores. He said pet-seekers should instead turn to shelters and rescue organizations to adopt animals in need of a home. Pet store owners, he said, can also work with shelters to organize adoption events at their stores.
“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for pet stores to sell animals that predominantly come from abusive puppy and kitten mills,” Gianaris said in a statement. “Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities.”
The bill passed the state assembly Friday in the final hours of the legislative session.
“Puppy mills breed cruelty,” said Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the legislation. “The vast majority of dogs, cats and rabbits sold in New York State pet stores come from factory-like mills. I look forward to this bill soon becoming law.”
The law would affect roughly 80 pet stores that are registered to sell domestic animals in the state.
Animal welfare groups celebrated the bill’s passage.
“New York State needs to end the sale of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs in pet shops,” ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker said in a statement. “Shutting down the puppy mill pipeline will help stop retail sellers and commercial breeders from engaging in—and profiting from—unconscionable brutality.”
If the bill becomes law, New York would be the sixth state in the nation to ban the sale of dogs and cats from pet shops. California has enacted such a ban, along with Maryland, Maine, Washington and Illinois.