Queens lawmaker’s bill to ban animal sales in pet stores advances in state Senate

Courtesy of Gianaris’ office

Legislation that would change your neighborhood pet shop for good is gaining support in Albany. State Senator Michael Gianaris’ bill that would prohibit the sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits in retail pet stores passed the Domestic Animal Welfare Committee, the first procedural hurdle to the measure becoming law.

“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,” Gianaris said. “I am pleased this important legislation moved out of committee and continues to build momentum with many of my Senate colleagues.”

Gianaris noted the bill now has 17 co-sponsors, including Senators Joseph Addabbo, John Liu, Jessica Ramos and Toby Ann Stavisky. The majority of animals available for sale in pet stores come from dog, cat and bunny mills and the offspring on mill animals often have congenital issues resulting from poor breeding and can cost families thousands of dollars in veterinary care.

“With this game-changing vote, the puppy mill industry has been put on notice that their time in New York is coming to an end,” Humane Society of the United States New York State Director Brian Shapiro said. “This popular legislation has led to a groundswell of public support and we’re anticipating the bill’s eventual passage. The HSUS applauds Senator Gianaris for his dedication to protecting animals and the interests of consumers.”

Gianaris is a leader on animal welfare in the Senate, passing the nation’s first-ever statewide ban on cat declawing.

“We applaud the Senate for moving this bill, which is a win-win for animals and people,” NYC Bar Association Animal Law Committee Chairman Christopher Wlach said. “For one, it promotes animal adoption and reduces the alarming rate of shelter animal euthanasia. At the same time, by eliminating a primary source of sales for puppy, kitten and rabbit mills, it protects consumers and the environment.”

“Only two other states, Maryland and California, have enacted similar bans. Asked about the legislation during an unrelated event,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “I’ve heard nothing about it, but you’re right, it does sound a little silly.”

His office later clarified that Cuomo was trying to be lighthearted in his response and that the governor is interested in “any proposal that would better protect pets.”

Cuomo often posts photos of his family dog Captain on social media.

“We’ll review this legislation in consultation with the state’s top kibble and chew toy advocate, Captain,” Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said.

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