Gianaris, Rosenthal Announce Legislation Banning Animal Sales In Pet Stores Passes Senate And Assembly Committees

Bill Aims to Stop the Puppy Mill Pipeline

ALBANY – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal announced legislation (S.1130/A.4283) to prohibit sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits in retail pet stores was approved by both the Senate and Assembly Agriculture Committees, the first procedural hurdle to the bill becoming a law.

“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for puppy mills that abuse animals to supply pet stores. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “I am pleased this important proposal continues to build momentum in the legislature.”

“New York State has a real opportunity to shut down the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline once and for all and to provide homes to so many animals in need of fur-ever families,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). “Despite all regulations, the vast majority of animals for sale in pet stores still come from puppy mills, which are places of unimaginable cruelty. Until we pass this law to stop the sales of dogs and cats in pet stores, more well-meaning animal lovers will be duped into buying sick animals that will cost them both financially and emotionally.

Most of the animals available for sale in pet stores come from notorious dog, cat and bunny mills, which are known to be inhumane. Offspring of mill animals often have congenital issues resulting from poor breeding and can cost families thousands of dollars in veterinary care.

Pet breeders and stores are loosely regulated under the Animal Welfare Act by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Recent investigations revealed, however, that under the Trump administration, USDA inspectors have been less aggressive in enforcing these regulations. In addition, the USDA is issuing fewer serious violations that would ordinarily trigger swift follow-up by the agency.

According to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the state agency tasked with regulating pet dealers, there are approximately 80 pet stores registered throughout the state.

Senator Michelle Hinchey, Agriculture Committee Chair said, “There is no excuse for the abuse of animals that happens in puppy mills across the country. This legislation, which I am proud to have passed through the Agriculture Committee, takes us a step closer to ending this practice by cutting off one of the puppy mills largest markets. I am pleased to have worked with Senator Gianaris on this important legislation.”

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Chair of the Assembly Codes Committee said, “There is no denying that humans love animal companions, but there is also no denying that animals should never be pipelined into pet shops when there are so many animals who have already been abandoned or given up to the animal shelter system. We should be doing everything we can to encourage people to adopt instead of shop, and this legislation takes a large step forward in this effort. Thank you to Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal for her steadfast advocacy of this legislation for so many years, and I encourage my colleagues to join in support of this important bill to protect the lives of animals.”

Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO said, “Having one of the country’s highest concentrations of pet stores that sell puppies, New York State needs to end the sale of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs in pet shops by finally passing the New York Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill. Shutting down the puppy mill pipeline will help stop unscrupulous breeders from engaging in—and profiting from—unconscionable brutality. We were gratified to see the Senate pass this legislation last year, and we look forward to working with Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Rosenthal this year to advance the bill through the full Legislature to make it law, signaling New York’s determination to reject animal cruelty statewide.”

Libby Post, Executive Director, New York State Animal Protection Federation said, “The Federation wants to thank Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Donna Lupardo for her leadership in shepherding the bill through her committee. We’re now taking the next steps needed to get this important bill to the floor of each house. If it wasn’t for Senator Gianaris and Assemblywoman Rosenthal, we wouldn’t be standing at the beginning of what will hopefully be a new tomorrow for companion animals in New York State. 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.”

Brian Shapiro, New York State Director for the Humane Society of the United States said, “New Yorkers won’t tolerate puppy mill cruelty, and it’s time for legislation to reflect that. Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Rosenthal continue protecting both pets and consumers from the inherent cruelties of this outdated industry. The HSUS applauds their dedication and we’re eager to see this bill move to the floor of both houses for a vote.”

Allie Feldman Taylor, President, Voters For Animal Rights said, “Voters For Animal Rights is pleased by this week's progress, putting us one step closer to passing this much-needed legislation to protect animals and consumers from businesses that put profits over compassion. This law will save thousands of dogs, cats, and rabbits from immeasurable suffering. Voters For Animal Rights applauds Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Rosenthal for leading the pack to shut down the cruel puppy mill pipeline in New York.”

Christopher Wlach, Chair, New York City Bar Association Animal Law Committee said, “The New York City Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee is proud of New York's continued dedication to fighting the cruel commercial breeding of companion animals. Senator Gianaris and Assembly Member Rosenthal’s bill is a tremendous step toward that goal, promoting animal adoption, reducing shelter euthanasia, and protecting consumers and the environment. We applaud the Senate and Assembly Agriculture Committees for moving this bill one stop closer to passage.”