(CTN NEWS) – ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York State legislature voted on Thursday to ban the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits in pet stores to target commercial breeding operations dubbed puppy mills by critics.
A new law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul in 2024 allows pet shops to partner with shelters to offer rescued or abandoned animals for adoption.
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According to Hochul’s office, the ban—which is also in place in a few other states like California and Illinois—is an effort to stop puppy and kitten mills’ extensive cruel breeding methods, which frequently provide animals to pet stores.
The governor stated that “dogs, cats, and bunnies across New York deserve loving homes and decent treatment.”
“I’m delighted to sign this law, which will take significant efforts to reduce cruel treatment and safeguard the wellbeing of animals throughout the state,” the governor said.
Customers who buy pets from these mills may eventually incur veterinary costs in the thousands.
Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal said in a statement following the passage of the new bill,
“New York State will no longer permit horrifically inhumane puppy mills throughout the country to feed our pet retailers and generate a profit off animal cruelty and unknowing shoppers.”
The agony of investing thousands of dollars in a cherished new pet that is genetically flawed and chronically unwell will be saved from countless families.
The new rule forbids pet stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits while also allowing them to charge shelters rent in exchange for using their facility for adoption services.
Rosenthal states, “by banning the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores, shelters and rescues will be able to work with these stores to exhibit adoptable animals and find them forever homes.”
Bipartisan backing helped the legislation passed in June, but before Hochul signed it, he added the adoption amendment and moved the implementation date to 2024.
Michael Gianaris, a state senator from Queens, endorsed Hochul’s choice and hailed it as “a beautiful day for our four-legged friends.”
Pet store supporters in New York, People United to Protect Pet Integrity (PUPPI), were not thrilled with the new law, arguing it will drive many small pet stores to close.
According to Jessica Selmer, president of PUPPI, the law is “counterproductive,” and she hopes the governor would “explore legislative remedies to some of the problems of the measure.”
In 2017, California became the first state to enact laws. Maryland and Illinois followed in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Breeders who breed, raise, and sell animals born on their premises are not subject to New York’s restrictions.
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