Statement From Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris On Puppy Mill Pipeline Legislation Passing State Senate, State Assembly

Bill Written by Senator Gianaris, Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal Will Combat Inhumane Puppy Mills; Now Moves to Governor for Signature

NEW YORK – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris issued the following statement following the State Assembly voting to pass his legislation (S.1130/A.4283) to shut down the puppy mill to pet store pipeline by banning the retail sale of animals in New York pet stores, cutting off one of the largest markets in the nation for animals bred for retail sale. The bill, which passed the Senate earlier this year, now goes to the Governor for her signature.

 “With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for abusive puppy mills to supply pet stores,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities. I am proud to have authored this important bill and thrilled to see it pass the Legislature. And now I am hopeful Governor Hochul will sign it into law. Thanks to Assembly Member Rosenthal for her partnership and all the advocates who made this possible.”

“Puppy mills breed cruelty. Banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in New York pet stores will deal with puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline a near-mortal blow,” said Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). “The cute puppies, kittens and bunnies in pet store windows mask a sad reality: these animals are products of horrific neglect in puppy mills. Puppy, kitty and bunny mills use and abuse animals to churn out pets for sale, which are often riddled with congenital diseases, that cost unsuspecting consumers hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinary bills and incalculable emotional stress. Over the years we have tried to regulate pet stores, but the industry continues to prioritize profits over the welfare of animals. My work with State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris and the advocates will help shut down the pet store-to-puppy mill pipeline once and for all.”

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.

The bill passed the Senate earlier this year. You can watch Senator Gianaris’ full floor speech on the bill here.

Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO said, “Once signed into law, the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill will finally end the sale of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs in pet shops across New York state, which has one of the country’s highest concentrations of pet stores that sell puppies. Shutting down the puppy mill pipeline will help stop retail sellers and commercial breeders from engaging in—and profiting from—unconscionable brutality. We’re grateful to Assembly Member Rosenthal and Senator Gianaris for championing the passage of the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill and urge Governor Hochul to sign it to signal New York’s determination to reject animal cruelty statewide.”

Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation said, “As someone who has rescued a golden retriever who was used to breed every six months at an Amish puppy mill in Ohio, I’ve witnessed the trauma our Sophie has gone through. We all focus on the puppies. But the abuse of the breeding dogs is where it all starts. Passing the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill means New Yorkers will no longer be complicit in animal abuse. The shelters and animal welfare organizations represented by the Federation thank Senator Michael Gianaris and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal for their commitment to this effort. It’s been a long time coming.”

Brian Shapiro, New York State Director for the Humane Society of the United States said, “The New York State Legislature made history today by passing legislation that shuts down the puppy mill pipeline to NY pet stores. This is a good day for companion animals and we thank Senator Mike Gianaris and Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal for their steadfast commitment and hard work bringing this meaningful legislation over the finish line.”