NEW YORK, N.Y. – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris received the prestigious “Champion for Animals” award from the ASPCA, in recognition of his work to end the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline in New York State. He received the award alongside the bill’s Assembly sponsor, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, of Manhattan. Photos of the event are available here.
“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 thank the ASPCA for this award and their ongoing support in passing this important law.”
Senator Gianaris’ legislation passed the State Senate in 2020 and 2021. It is awaiting a vote in the State Assembly. It is supported by the ASPCA, the Humane Society of New York State, New York State Animal Protection Federation, Voters for Animal Rights, and the New York City Bar Association Animal Welfare section.
Many 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.