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Hochul signs legislation to end puppy mill pipeline


Thu, Dec 15th 2022 07:40 pm

Legislation bans sale of dogs, cats & rabbits at retail pet stores

√ Allows pet stores to charge shelters rent to use their space for adoptions

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday signed legislation (S.1130/A.4283) to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits at retail pet stores, “aiming to end the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline and stop abusive breeders,” her team said.

Based upon an agreement with the Legislature, this legislation will take effect in 2024 and will also allow pet stores to charge shelters rent to use their space for adoptions.

"Dogs, cats and rabbits across New York deserve loving homes and humane treatment," Hochul said. "I'm proud to sign this legislation, which will make meaningful steps to cut down on harsh treatment and protect the welfare of animals across the state."

A press release said, “Legislation S.1130/A.4283 aims to prevent the buying and selling of animals from large-scale, abusive breeders that lack proper veterinary care, food or socialization. Often times, these animals have health issues resulting from poor breeding and can cost families thousands of dollars in veterinary care. The legislation will continue to allow pet stores to host adoption services in conjunction with animal shelters or rescue organizations to help connect New Yorkers with animals in need of a home.”

New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris said, "Today is a great day for our four-legged friends and a big step forward in our fight against abusive and inhumane puppy mills. My thanks to Gov. Hochul for standing up for the voiceless, loving animals who are members of our families and deserve the respect we've shown them today."

Assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal said, "I extend an enormous thank you to Gov. Hochul for signing this legislation to shut down the puppy mill pipeline. New York state will no longer allow brutally inhumane puppy mills around the country to supply our pet stores and earn a profit off animal cruelty and unsuspecting consumers. By ending the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, shelters and rescues will be able to partner with these stores to showcase adoptable animals and place them into forever homes. Countless families will be spared the heartache of spending thousands on a beloved new pet that is genetically damaged and chronically ill. New York's role as a leader in preventing cruelty to animals will inspire other states to follow suit, and that is something the governor and all of us can be proud to have accomplished."


Pet Advocacy Network President and CEO Mike Bober said, “By signing S.1130/A.4283 into law today, New York Gov. Hochul has destroyed the livelihoods of law-abiding small business owners and removed longstanding legal protections for animals and for families who adopt puppies, kittens and rabbits. Eliminating the state’s most highly regulated and inspected pet source – the only source that is required to provide consumer warranties that give new pet owners peace of mind – makes no sense.

“This misdirected law will cause New York’s local pet stores that bring families together with pets to go out of business, lay off their employees, and have a negative ripple effect throughout their communities during turbulent economic times. It is a loss for New Yorkers that lawmakers did not directly target unregulated breeders who mistreat animals. The changes the governor made of extending the implementation date by a year and allowing stores to charge shelters and rescues rent will not save these small pet stores whose livelihood is dependent on placing new pets with families.

All of us in the responsible pet care community want to safeguard animals. This law will not do that. It will only put the health and well-being of more animals and the families who bring them home at risk.” 

The Pet Advocacy Network said it “connects the experience and expertise of the responsible pet care community to lawmakers and governing bodies, advocating for legislative and regulatory priorities at the local, state, federal and international levels. Since 1971, the organization has worked to promote animal well-being and responsible pet ownership, foster environmental stewardship, and ensure access to healthy pets, including small animals, cats, dogs, fish, reptiles and birds. Pet Advocacy Network members include retailers, companion animal suppliers, manufacturers, wholesale distributors, manufacturers’ representatives, pet hobbyists, and other trade organizations.”

Best Friends Animal Society, a leading national animal organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters by 2025, congratulated New York for becoming the sixth state in the nation to enact a humane pet sales law.

A press release said, “Best Friends thanked Assembly member Linda Rosenthal and Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris for sponsoring the legislation, known as the Puppy Mill Pipeline Act; the Legislature for bipartisan support in passing it; and Gov. Hochul for her signature. The new law prevents pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits, taking effect in a year. It allows pet stores to work with shelters and rescue groups to showcase homeless pets for adoption. The bill passed in June and was signed by Gov. Hochul today.”

Elizabeth Oreck, national manager, puppy mill initiatives for Best Friends Animal Society, said, "We are extremely grateful to Assembly member Rosenthal and Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris for sponsoring this lifesaving legislation and to all of the elected officials, advocates, shelters, rescue groups and organizations that worked together to ensure its passage. We commend Gov. Hochul for adding her signature, making New York a more humane state for people and pets.”

The group continued, “Most puppies, kittens and rabbits sold by pet stores come from inhumane commercial breeding mills. As an organization whose mission it is to end the killing of pets in shelters, Best Friends encourages people looking for a pet to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, rather than buying from a pet store, breeder or online retailer. Adopting saves lives, while buying nearly always supports the puppy mill industry by creating demand.

“As awareness of the connection between puppy mills and puppies sold for profit continues to grow, more and more communities are banning the sale of mill-bred pets in stores. New York state joins five other states (California, Maryland, Maine, Washington and Illinois) and more than 450 municipalities across North America that have enacted laws that prohibit the retail sale of animals from breeding mills.

“Puppy mills are commercial dog-breeding facilities where profit takes priority over the health and welfare of the animals. Parent dogs spend their lives in small, dirty, stacked, wire-bottomed cages, often in the minimum legal size allowed (only 6 inches larger than the dog on all sides), and female dogs are bred as frequently as possible. Most puppy mill dogs have inadequate medical care and human socialization. Studies have shown that the poor conditions and high-stress environment into which the puppies are born can have a lifelong impact on their physical and emotional health and behavior.

“New York pet stores will be able to help save the lives of pets from shelters and rescue groups, which is vital, as many shelters are at or over capacity.”

The group noted, “In 2021, 355,000 dogs and cats were killed in U.S. shelters, up from 347,000 in 2020. This is the first time in five years the number of dogs and cats killed in the U.S. has increased. Puppy mills are directly contributing to these numbers by creating and selling new pets, many who also end up in the shelter system.

“Best Friends Animal Society has the most comprehensive, accurate annual dataset for sheltered dogs and cats in the United States, with 80% of all shelters reporting data, representing an estimated 94% of all sheltered dogs and cats in the country.

“Around the time Best Friends opened in 1984, U.S. shelters were killing 17 million dogs and cats every year. That figure has since fallen to about 355,000, according to Best Friends 2021 dataset. Sadly, in 2021 the number of dogs and cats killed in U.S. shelters increased for the first time in five years, up 8,000 animals from 347,000 in 2020.

“Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 355,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of nearly 4,000 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to ‘Save Them All.’ For more information, visit bestfriends.org.”

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