Breaking! New Legislation Introduced In New York Calls For Statewide Ban On Selling Puppy Mill Animals In Pet Stores

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New York may be on its way to becoming the latest state to implement common sense legislation that would prohibit the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores.

Introduced yesterday by New York Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), S.4234/A.6298 is designed to protect pets and the consumers who purchase them, as well as prevent retail outlets from profiting from mill-bred animals.

“This new legislation to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores statewide will finally end the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline. Animals such as puppies, kittens, and bunnies in mills live short, tortured existences; their offspring, usually the animals offered for sale at pet stores, are often riddled with congenital issues as a result of the poor conditions and breeding practices employed,” Assemblymember Rosenthal said in a statement. “Unsuspecting customers pay hundreds of dollars for a cute puppy or kitten, only to find that the animal is incurably sick. Our animal shelters and rescue organizations are overflowing with animals needing forever homes; it’s time we start connecting rescue animals with loving homes through adoption in pet stores.”

New York has one of the highest concentrations of pet stores in the nation. The time has come to protect animals and consumers alike, by joining Maryland, California, and over 290 localities across the nation in taking a strong stand against puppy mill cruelty. Despite pet stores’ claiming that their puppies come from well-regulated, humane breeders, dogs bred in these facilities often spend their entire lives in small, dirty, wire cages. Mother dogs are treated as nothing more than breeding machines, and puppies as nothing more than assembly-line products.

Unfortunately, the federal government has failed to adequately regulate puppy mills. A breeder licensed by the USDA must only abide by insufficient, abysmal survival standards. Enforcement is lacking, and penalties are weak. New York took action in 2014 to enact a new pet store law allowing local governments to crack down on cruel and unscrupulous pet dealers, but the law restricts them to limiting certain sources based on USDA inspection history. The USDA has since purged its breeder inspection database of any meaningful information on breeder inspection reports, hiding their documentation of puppy mill cruelty from regulators and consumers who wish to verify breeder inspection history. Despite several attempts by lawmakers and animal welfare groups, the USDA has continued to suppress this information for nearly two years, rendering all such local laws ineffective.

“We applaud Senator Gianaris and Assemblymember Rosenthal for introducing legislation aimed at shutting down New York’s puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline,” said Brian Shapiro, New York State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. “As federal regulators fail to provide proper oversight of large-scale pet breeders, states must step in and pass effective laws that protect consumers and companion animals.”

“The public is disgusted by the reality of puppy mills and the predatory practices of the retailers it supports,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. “The Federation is pleased to support this measure, and work with our animal welfare partners statewide to fight animal homelessness and help end the cycle of misery of mill-owned breeding dogs.”

While prohibiting the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores, the bill would continue to allow pet stores to offer products and services, and to offer space to shelters and rescues to showcase animals available for adoption from these organizations.

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