ALBANY – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced his legislation to ban animal sales in pet stores passed the New York State Senate today. His legislation (S.4234-A) to prohibit sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits in retail pet stores had 20 co-sponsors.
“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for pet stores to sell animals that predominantly come from abusive puppy and kitten mills. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “I am thankful my legislation passed the Senate and look forward to further progress in the future."
Watch Senator Gianaris’ floor speech on this legislation here.
Animals available for sale in pet stores often come from dog, cat and bunny mills that horribly mistreat them. The animals that manage to survive these mills 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 that under the Trump administration, USDA inspectors have been less aggressive in enforcing these regulations and 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 Gianaris is a leader on animal welfare issues in the Senate, also passing the nation’s first-ever statewide ban on cat declawing.
Edie Falco said, “My dog Sami spent two years living in a box, in the dark, without a name. She was forced to have puppies who were sold to pet stores, and that was her life. Every day, puppies are shipped to New York pet stores through a pipeline of out-of-state breeders, but today I’m thrilled to see that the New York State Senate has voted to break this cycle of cruelty by ending the retail sale of puppies in pet stores. Let’s make sure the Assembly takes similar action to pass this bill and shut down the puppy mill pipeline for good.”
Bill sponsor Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal said, “The puppy mill industry is barking mad and propagating falsehoods to block this bill in the New York State Assembly. I commend my partner in the State Senate, Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris, for carrying this bill across the finish line in the State Senate. Until we pass a 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. Animals and consumers alike will continue to be at risk until we shut down the puppy mill-to-pet-store pipeline once and for all.”
Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO said, “Pet stores that sell puppies may look good from the window, but rely on a recklessly inhumane system to make money, importing potentially sick animals from out-of-state puppy mills and deceptively passing them off to consumers as healthy pets from responsible breeders. Today as we recognize No Pet Store Puppies Day, New York State is one step closer to shutting down the puppy mill pipeline for good and protecting thousands of animals from suffering for the sake of profit. We thank Senator Gianaris for spearheading the passage of the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill in the Senate, and we look forward to working with Assemblymember Rosenthal to move it forward in the Assembly.”
Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation said, “This is the crucial first step in stopping the inhumane practice of selling puppy mill puppies as well as overbred kittens and rabbits in pet stores. Of the $95 billion spent on pets in 2019, only 2% of those revenues came from pet sales. Shelters across New York are happy to hold adoption events at local pet stores to help them rebrand as humane businesses that care about companion animals and the people who love them. The Federation recognized Senator Gianaris as an animal welfare champion at our annual advocacy day in March. His commitment to this bill despite the legislative upheaval caused by COVID19 has set an example for all of us to follow.
Allie Feldman Taylor, President, Voters for Animal Rights said, “With thousands of homeless dogs, cats, and rabbits waiting to be adopted from animal shelters across New York State, it is cruel and unethical for pet stores to profit from breeding animals, often under horrific conditions. Voters For Animal Rights (VFAR) applauds Senator Michael Gianaris for championing this transformative legislation — a win for all New Yorkers, especially consumers and homeless animals seeking a second chance at life”
Loni Edwards, President and CEO of The Dog Agency said, “Today is a great day for pets! Thank you to Senator Gianaris's tireless work, the puppy mill bill has now passed The Senate. This is such an important step in preventing puppy mill cruelty from continuing, and in improving the lives of pets. Senator Gianaris continues to put animal rights at the forefront, and we are so lucky to have him in office pushing for better laws for our pets!”
Brian Shapiro, New York State Director for the Humane Society of the U.S. said, “This legislation protects consumers and makes it clear that New York rejects puppy mills as a source for family pets. Today’s historic vote will lead to the state assembly where this important animal protection campaign will continue. The HSUS applauds the New York State Senate for taking meaningful action to protect our pets.”
Chris Wlach, New York City Bar Association Animal Law Committee Chair said, “The New York City Bar Association's Animal Law Committee is proud of New York's continued dedication to promoting animal adoption, reducing shelter euthanasia, and protecting consumers and the environment. Senator Gianaris’ bill would help achieve those goals and we applaud the Senate for passing it.”