April 27, 2021 By Allie Griffin
A bill that would ban the sale of cats and dogs at pet stores in New York is making headway in the state legislature.
The legislation — sponsored by Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and State Sen. Michael Gianaris — is set to move for a full vote on the floor of both the assembly and senate.
Gianaris and Rosenthal aim to stop stores from selling pets from puppy mills and breeding farms, where animals are often overbred and subjected to harsh living conditions. The bill would also prohibit the sale of rabbits in pet stores.
The pair have attempted to pass the bill through the state legislature in the past. Last year, it passed the Senate but failed to get out the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee for a full vote.
The bill was approved by the Assembly Agriculture Committee today for the first time. It was also approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee.
“I am pleased this important proposal continues to build momentum in the legislature,” Gianaris said.
Gianaris hopes his bill 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. Additionally, he said, if people do want a particular breed of dog—they can deal directly with a breeder.
“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for puppy mills that abuse animals to supply pet stores,” Gianaris said in a statement. “Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities.”
Pet store owners can work with shelters to organize adoption events at their stores as an alternative to selling animals, Gianaris said.
The legislation would affect the approximately 80 pet stores registered throughout the state that sell dogs, cats and rabbits.
The legislation has been well-received by animal rights activists and organizations like the ASPCA, among others.
“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,” ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker said.
“Shutting down the puppy mill pipeline will help stop unscrupulous breeders from engaging in—and profiting from—unconscionable brutality.”
However, the Pet Industry Advisory Council, a trade group that represents pet stores, argues that the legislation is misguided.
“We all agree that bad breeders need to be shut down, but this misguided bill will not do that. In reality, the bad breeders this legislation targets will go untouched while responsible pet stores pay the price and will be forced to close their doors and lay off hardworking New Yorkers,” the group says in a statement.
“Families who are seeking a specific breed of dog will be driven to unregulated sources, and could fall victim to scams,” the trade group adds.