Pet Stores in New York Prohibited From Selling Dogs, Cats, and Rabbits

A new law has been passed in New York State which will prohibit pet stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits. This legislation is aimed at curbing the sale of pets that come from breeding facilities, which many animal rights organizations believe treat animals in cruel and inhumane ways.

Governor Kathy Hochul signed a new law on Thursday that prohibits pet stores in New York State from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits. This legislation follows a trend set by a few other states, such as California and Illinois, which have passed comparable bans to reduce the sale of animals from large-scale breeding facilities known for their inhumane conditions. These facilities are commonly referred to as “puppy mills” or “kitten mills.”

Officials aim to stop the supply of animals from commercial breeders to consumers by prohibiting the sale of animals at pet stores in New York. There are currently around 80 pet stores in the state. The move is aimed at preventing the sale of animals that are often abused or sick and result in unexpected veterinary expenses for their new owners.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who introduced the legislation in the lower chamber, said that the ban on the puppy mill pipeline to New York State represents the victory of compassion over a cruel industry that abuses innocent animals for profit.

The ban on the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores in New York created a fierce debate in Albany. While animal rights advocates hailed it as a victory, the pet store industry strongly opposed the bill, arguing that it would harm their business and lead to unintended consequences. Pet store owners argued that the ban would make it difficult for New Yorkers to purchase pets legally and might create an underground market for pets.

A group of pet store owners, known as People United to Protect Pet Integrity (PUPPI), opposed the legislation banning the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in New York State. They argued that the ban would harm responsible pet stores that sell animals raised with care and would not effectively shut down commercial breeding facilities, which are mostly located out-of-state. According to PUPPI, the majority of commercial breeders treat animals humanely, and animal rights groups are unfairly stigmatizing the entire breeding sector by targeting a few bad actors that have faced legal action and investigations.

Jessica Selmer, the president of PUPPI, stated that the ban on pet stores selling dogs, cats, and rabbits would eliminate the role of pet stores in ensuring the health and welfare of the pets they sell, such as screening breeders and connecting new pet owners with reputable veterinarians. She expressed her disappointment after failing to convince Governor Hochul to veto the bill.

The bill banning pet stores in New York from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits was passed by the Democratic-controlled State Legislature in June with bipartisan support. 

However, it was uncertain whether Governor Kathy Hochul, also a Democrat, would sign the bill. After several days of closed-door negotiations, the governor eventually agreed to support the bill with some modifications aimed at mitigating the financial impact on pet stores, known for their eye-catching window displays of expensive puppies.

The ban on pet stores selling dogs, cats, and rabbits in New York has been revised to include some changes aimed at reducing the economic impact on pet stores. The revised legislation was passed with rare bipartisan support by Democrats who control the State Legislature in Albany in June. Governor Kathy Hochul eventually agreed to sign the bill after closed-door negotiations, with implementation of the ban delayed until December 2024. 

Additionally, the updated legislation allows pet stores to charge rent to animal shelters that hold adoption events for rescued animals on their premises.

The ban does not prevent people from buying animals directly from breeders, but it aims to encourage adopting pets from shelters and rescue organizations, which are currently overwhelmed with dogs, many of which were abandoned by people who got pets during the pandemic.

State Senator Michael Gianaris, a Democrat from Queens who sponsored the bill, stated that the animals are living beings and should be treated with respect, not like commodities to be bought off a shelf. He believes the law will prevent animals from being mistreated in cruel puppy mills, and he is delighted that it is now in effect. 

Read More: @nytimes

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