Gianaris bill banning pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits passes state senate

Miniature breeds at the puppy mill (Photo: PETA)

May 11, 2022 By Christian Murray

The state Senate on Tuesday passed a law banning pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits.

The bill, introduced by the State. Senator Mike Gianaris aims to end puppy mills and breeding farms, where animals are typically over-produced and often confined to poor living conditions.

Gianaris hopes the legislation will end the pipeline from puppy mills to pet stores. He said pet seekers should instead look to shelters and rescue organizations to adopt animals in need of homes. Pet store owners, he said, can also work with shelters to hold adoption events at their stores.

“With so many good animals to save, there is no need for pet stores to sell animals that are primarily from abusive puppy and kitten factories,” Gianaris said in a statement. “Our four-legged friends should be treated with respect, not like commodities.”

The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday with a vote of 57 to 7. Gianaris first introduced the bill in 2018 and although it passed the Senate before it was never become law.

The bill was presented to the Assembly and it was adopted by the Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday. It has 77 co-sponsors in the Assembly, which has 150 members.

“It’s no secret that puppy mills breed cruelty,” said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the legislation. “The vast majority of dogs, cats and rabbits sold in pet stores in New York State come from factory-like plants. I look forward to seeing this bill become law soon.

The law would affect about 80 pet stores registered to sell pets in the state.

Animal welfare groups celebrated the passage of the bill in the Senate.

“New York State must end the sale of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs in pet stores,” ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker said in a statement. “Closing the puppy mill pipeline will help prevent retail vendors and commercial breeders from engaging in and profiting from unconscionable brutality.”

If the bill becomes law, New York would be the sixth state in the country to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. California has adopted such a ban, as well as Maryland, Maine, Washington and Illinois.

But the bill has its detractors.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, a trade group that represents pet stores, argues the legislation is flawed.

The trade group says bad breeders need to be shut down, but this legislation will not do that. He says bad breeders will remain untouched while responsible pet shop owners are forced out of business.

Meanwhile, the American Kennel Club, which represents 217 kennel clubs and thousands of dog owners in the state, told the Post-Journal that the bill would limit consumer choice and “negatively impact dogs and dog owners in the state”.

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