New York may ban selling puppies at pet stores

Ever walk by the temptingly clear and wide windows of a New York City pet shop and just fall a little bit in love with a big-eyed puppy? That experience may be ending and it’s all in the name of animal welfare.

This week, the bipartisan Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill passed a House vote, meaning it will progress to Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk. 

Introduced in the New York State Senate in 2021, this bill “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 is, the bill seeks to stop the trade of small animals exclusively for profit and encourages the adoption of rescue animals in need of homes. Puppy mills are notoriously hazardous for animals, pet factories where dogs are often used for potentially dangerous and painful gestation and birthing, and newborns fail to receive the 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. 

Should the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill become state law, New York’s pet stores will have to remove furry friends from their inventory. They will still be able to showcase rescued dogs for adoption and fostering, but cannot profit from any fees associated with New Yorkers finding a pet in their venue.

Designer dogs often cost thousands of dollars and their absence will most certainly hurt the revenue of independent pet stores across the state. States including California, Illinois and Maryland already have similar laws, enacted in recent years to curb the corporate and often irresponsible and dangerous breeding of designer dogs and cats. 

“I don’t think we should sanction the torturing of animals as a means to keep people in business,” State Senator Michael Gianaris, told the New York Times. “I hope it doesn’t take the governor as long as it took the entire Legislature to figure out the right thing to do.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has an ongoing petition urging Governor Hochul to promptly sign the bill into law. Naturally, pet store owners are lobbying against the signing of the bill and the governor has yet to make a statement on what she will decide.

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