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New York Senate Passes Bill to End Retail Sale of Puppies, Kittens, Rabbits Statewide

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Under a newly passed Senate bill, New York may join other states and hundreds of localities across the nation to ban the sale of puppies, kittens, and rabbits from retail pet stores.

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On May 5, 2021, the New York State Senate approved S.1130, to shut down the puppy mill pipeline and end the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores across the state. Sponsored by Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), the bill is supported by leading animal welfare groups including the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), New York State Animal Protection Federation (NYSAPF), Voters For Animal Rights (VFAR), Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), and the NYC Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee.

A companion bill (A.4283) was introduced in the Assembly by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) and was recently approved by the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

It’s hard to imagine, when you see an adorable, healthy-looking puppy peering back at you through the glass of your local pet store, where that four-legged furball came from. The truth is, almost all puppies – 99% of them – sold in retail pet stores around the country are the product of puppy mills.

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Puppy mills are essentially a factory for pumping out the most amount of puppies, in the shortest amount of time, with minimal expense. Meaning, the breeders that run these puppy mills have their females in a constant cycle of pregnancy and birth. The dogs are given almost no medical care. Living conditions are deplorable. These dogs are usually found crammed into tiny cages with other dogs, standing and sleeping in feces and urine, their hair matted, skin painfully itchy from fleas or ticks, starving and malnourished. Many dogs are suffering from respiratory infections, blindness, joint issues, even life-threatening illnesses that are passed on to their puppies. Sometimes, these poor dogs are left for weeks in cages with fellow dogs that have died.

But the puppy mill’s only concern is profit. They don’t care for the health of their breeding stock. They don’t care for the health of the puppies that are produced. They don’t care where their puppies end up – as long as they make a profit.

“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,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “I thank my colleagues for joining me in passing this important legislation and look forward to working with Assemblymember Rosenthal to get this bill over the finish line.”

“We can seize this moment to save countless animals from suffering by cutting off the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline once and for all,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), Chair of the Social Services Committee. “Preventing the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores won’t just protect animals, it will also save customers the great heartache and expense that comes with falling in love with an animal that is destined by its breeding to become irreparably sick. My colleagues in the New York State Assembly have a long and proud record of standing up for defenseless animals. I, along with the hundreds of thousands of animal lovers in this State, are waiting to end the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline by passing bill A.4283.”

Right now, there are thousands of puppies for sale in New York pet stores. Puppies sold in pet stores typically come from commercial breeding operations known as “puppy mills” that are designed to prioritize profit over the well-being of the animals. Dogs in these facilities are often kept in wire crates without adequate shelter, veterinary care, food or socialization. As a result, many of them suffer severe health and behavioral issues – and families are often unprepared for the financial loss and heartbreak that come with buying a sick puppy.

With passage in the Senate, the bill must now be approved by the Assembly, where it is currently before the Assembly Codes Committee for consideration. If the bill is approved in that house, New York will join other states and hundreds of localities in taking a strong stand against puppy mill cruelty.

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