Queens lawmaker passes bill to dismantle puppy mills in New York

File photo by Todd Maisel


The New York Senate passed legislation, proposed and pushed by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, to forbid the sale of animals at pet retail stores on Tuesday, July 21.

The legislation prohibits the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits by pet stores across New York and deals a hard hit to the animal mill pipeline, Gianaris said. 

“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for pet stores to sell animals that predominantly come from abusive puppy and kitten mills. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities,” Gianaris said. “I am thankful my legislation passed the Senate and look forward to further progress in the future.” 

There are currently 80 registered pet stores in the state, according to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets 

Pet stores often sell animals provided by dog, cat and bunny mills, where animal maltreatment is rampant, according to the deputy leader. The animals that survive mills commonly have inbred issues as a consequence of poor breeding that can result in thousands of dollars in veterinary care in the future.

“Pet stores that sell puppies may look good from the window, but rely on a recklessly inhumane system to make money, importing potentially sick animals from out-of-state puppy mills and deceptively passing them off to consumers as healthy pets from responsible breeders, “ ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker said Tuesday. “Today as we recognize No Pet Store Puppies Day, New York State is one step closer to shutting down the puppy mill pipeline for good and protecting thousands of animals from suffering for the sake of profit. We thank Senator Gianaris for spearheading the passage of the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill in the Senate, and we look forward to working with Assemblymember Rosenthal to move it forward in the Assembly.”

According to the senator, loose regulation of pet stores and breeders under the Animal Welfare Act have permitted unchecked activity ridden with inhumane violations. Under the Trump administration, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors have lacked assertive enforcement of regulations and the USDA is presenting less serious violations that would normally prompt a follow-up by the agency, Gianaris said. 

The legislation will undermine the animal mill industry and catalyze pet adoption, the senator said

“With thousands of homeless dogs, cats, and rabbits waiting to be adopted from animal shelters across New York State, it is cruel and unethical for pet stores to profit from breeding animals, often under horrific conditions,” said Allie Feldman Taylor, president of the Voters for Animal Rights. “Voters For Animal Rights (VFAR) applauds Senator Michael Gianaris for championing this transformative legislation — a win for all New Yorkers, especially consumers and homeless animals seeking a second chance at life.”

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