New York finally bans pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits

Starting in 2024, you’ll no longer see puppies in the window at pet stores across New York.

Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced that she had signed the bipartisan Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill, which “prohibits the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits by retail pet shops; authorizes collaboration with entities to provide space to showcase cats or dogs owned by certain entities for the purpose of adoption.” 

That means that pet shops can no longer sell animals from “puppy mills” but can charge adoption agencies for the use of their spaces. Puppy mills have been found to be dangerous for animals because of painful gestation and birthing and a lack of proper healthcare and precautions. Many pet stores allege that they work with reputable breeders and not so-called puppy mills, but many have also been caught in lies about puppy sourcing.

California, Illinois and Maryland already have similar laws.

“Dogs, cats and rabbits across New York deserve loving homes and humane treatment,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. “I’m proud to sign this legislation, which will make meaningful steps to cut down on harsh treatment and protect the welfare of animals across the state.”

According to the New York Times, New York has only about 80 pet stores left and the owners of these shops, including the People United to Protect Pet Integrity (PUPPI) say that the ban will unfairly hurt responsible pet stores.

“By ending licensed and regulated local pet stores, you will remove the people who vet breeders, [ensure] the health of newly homed pets with established veterinarians, and guarantee the success of a new pet family,” Jessica Selmer, the president of PUPPI, said in a statement to the Times.

Petland pet store
Photograph: Shutterstock

People will still be able to buy pets directly from breeders, but the new law is meant to encourage people to adopt instead.

“New York State will no longer allow brutally inhumane puppy mills around the country to supply our pet stores and earn a profit off animal cruelty and unsuspecting consumers,” Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal said in a statement. “By ending the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, shelters and rescues will be able to partner with these stores to showcase adoptable animals and place them into forever homes. Countless families will be spared the heartache of spending thousands on a beloved new pet that is genetically damaged and chronically ill. New York’s role as a leader in preventing cruelty to animals will inspire other states to follow suit, and that is something the Governor and all of us can be proud to have accomplished.”

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