Proposed Law Could Ban Sales of Dogs, Cats, Bunnies in New York Pet Stores

The legislation hopes to crack down on puppy mill production and promote pet adoption instead

Proposed legislation that could outlaw animal sales in New York pet stores is gaining traction.

On Monday, New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michal Gianaris announced that his bill — which aims to stop retail pet shops from selling dogs, cats and rabbits with the intent to crack down on puppy mills — passed the Domestic Animal Welfare committee.

The green light puts the measure, which now has 17 senate co-sponsors, one step closer to becoming law.

“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for puppy mills that abuse animals to supply pet stores,” said Gianaris in a press release. “Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities.”

There are about 80 pet stores registered throughout the state that would be affected by the potential law, according to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which regulates pet dealers.

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Brian Shapiro, the New York State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, called the vote “game-changing.”

“With this game-changing vote, the puppy mill industry has been put on notice that their time in New York is coming to an end,” Shapiro said in a press release. “This popular legislation has led to a groundswell of public support and we’re anticipating the bill’s eventual passage.”

Mike Bober, president of the Pet Industry Advisory Council, told WNBC that the bill won’t really prevent bad breeding practices, but negatively impact locally-owned pet stores.

Bober said focus should instead be placed on federal rules at all levels of the pet industry.

“These protections, along with the consumer warranties that pet stores are required by law to offer, are not mandatory for any other animal source,” Bober told the outlet.

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Rather than a condemnation of pet stores as a whole, Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation, said it’s a chance for the industry to adjust its model.

“The state’s network of animal shelters stand at the ready to help pet stores bring adoption events to their shops in order to find good, loving families for the thousands of homeless animals we care for each year,” said Post in a press release. “Shutting down the Puppy Mill Pipeline in New York is not just the right action to take but the humane action needed to protect animals and New York’s citizens.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — who passed a ban on declawing cats last year — said that, on the matter of this animal safety bill, he’ll consult the expert he’s closest to on the issue: his pet dog, Captain.

“We’ll review this legislation in consultation with the state’s top kibble and chew toy advocate, Captain,” a spokesperson for Cuomo told WNBC.

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