Advocates Push for State Ban on Sale of Dogs and Cats in Pet Stores | News, Sports, Jobs
ALBANY — A push to ban the sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits in New York pet stores is gaining momentum at the state Capitol, advocates for the humane treatment of animals said Wednesday.
The measure, sponsored by Congresswoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, and Deputy Senate Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, D-Queens, would make New York the sixth state in the nation to target what animal activists call the “puppy mill pipeline” supply stores with puppies and kittens.
Since the measure was approved last year by the state Senate, the biggest remaining hurdle is the Assembly. But Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Welfare Federation, said she was optimistic the legislation would be supported by both houses this year.
“We all now know what goes on in puppy mills and how horrible the conditions are,” Post said. “We’ve seen the videos, we’ve seen the images.”
Post said many New York pet stores have already stopped offering puppies and kittens for sale, relying on selling pet food and supplies, with some working directly with shelters. to facilitate sales to consumers.
California enacted a similar ban in 2017. Since then, Maryland, Maine, Washington and Illinois have banned the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. New York would become the sixth state to do so, if legislation progresses here. Across the country, some 400 municipalities have imposed local bans on the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores.
A spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club, representing 217 kennel clubs in New York and thousands of dog owners, said the organization is renewing objections to the measure. The AKC, which represents the world’s largest purebred dog registry, said New York’s bill would limit consumer choice and “having a negative impact on dogs and dog owners in the state.”
By pressuring pet stores to form alliances with shelter organizations, the state would effectively remove a regulated source of pets from these businesses while creating a “perverse request” for dogs that do not benefit from animal welfare regulations, the AKC said in opposing New York’s legislation.
When the state Senate approved the proposal a year ago with a 57-6 vote, supporters included Senate GOP leader Rob Ortt of R-Niagara County and Sen. Peter Oberacker , of R-Otsego County. Among those weighing with a “Nope” voting was Senator Dan Stec, R-Queensbury.
Brian Shapiro, New York State director for the Humane Society of the United States, said the state’s efforts to curb “puppy mills” have proven crucial, claiming that the federal government has not been effective in regulating these outlets,
Visits by Humane Society staff members to these outlets revealed evidence of sick dogs, “consumer scams” and “misleading” statements about the source of the pets, Shapiro said.
An investigation by the Humane Society led a state judge to fine Manhattan’s Chelsea Kennel Club $3.9 million for selling sick animals, he noted.
But Emilio Ortiz, director of Citipups, with several pet stores in New York, said the bill being considered in Albany is misguided and paints a misleading view of pet stores.
“It punishes good actors who don’t actually do anything wrong,” Ortiz said.
“They take the worst examples of pet stores and say all stores are like that, instead of weighing the good and the bad,” Ortiz said.
Another trade organization, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, is also trying to convince lawmakers to reject the legislation.
He argues that the worst breeders will escape punishment as “responsible” pet stores will be forced to close and lay off their employees.