New York bans pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits cutting down on ‘puppy mills’

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In Albany, legislation was signed on Thursday, making New York the latest state to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores in order to cut down and target commercial breeding operations known as “puppy mills.”

According to Governor Kathy Hochul, the new law takes effect in 2024, and will now encourage pet stores to work with shelters to offer rescued and abandoned pets better chances for adoption. Breeders will also be banned from selling more than nine animals a year.

This is a very big deal. New York tends to be a big purchaser and profiteer of these mills, and we are trying to cut off the demand at a retail level. They treat animals like commodities, and there is no pet store not affected.

Sen. Michael Gianaris

Pet stores have argued that puppy mills will not be hindered by the new laws, would not be increasing their standards of care, and the new legislation will only cause New York pet stores to close. Animal advocacy groups, however have lauded the legislation to cut down on the abusive and neglectful treatment of animals across the state.

In 2017, California enacted a similar bill which requires pet stores to work with animal shelters and rescue groups, however unlike New York, it does not regulate sales by private breeders. In 2020, Maryland banned the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores, and in 2021 Illinois banned the sales of puppies and kittens from commercial breeders.

The new laws in New York will not affect at-home breeders who sell pets born and raised on their property. This new law will now give buyers a more realistic source from where their pet came from and no longer will have to deal with middlemen. Many of the puppy mills are in the Midwest, and buyers have no idea how those particular pets are bred and raised until they are shipped to pet stores.

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