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Animal Welfare Groups Commend Gov. Hochul for Signing Bill to End the Retail Sale of Dogs, Cats, and Rabbits in New York Pet Stores

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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
December 15, 2022 GMT
ASPCA logo. (PRNewsfoto/ASPCA)
ASPCA logo. (PRNewsfoto/ASPCA)

New law shuts down the puppy mill pipeline to New York pet stores, cutting off one of the cruel breeding industry’s largest markets

NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, animal welfare groups commended Gov. Kathy Hochul for signing the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill, groundbreaking legislation that will stop the flow of cruelly bred puppies to New York pet stores by ending the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores across the state. Championed by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), this legislation was overwhelmingly approved by large bipartisan majorities in both the Assembly and Senate earlier this year.

The Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill was 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 and millions of New York animal lovers who support ending the sale of puppies in pet stores.

Puppy mills ship their puppies to New York pet stores, where they are marketed as healthy puppies from responsible breeders, which is far from the truth. Puppies sold in pet stores come from commercial breeding operations that prioritize profit over the well-being of the animals. Breeding dogs in these facilities are often kept in crowded cages their entire lives without adequate shelter, veterinary care, food or socialization. They are not pets; their only value is to produce puppies. These puppies can suffer severe health and behavioral issues – and families are often unprepared for the financial loss and heartbreak that come with buying a sick puppy.

When the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill takes effect, New York will finally shut down this pipeline and deny cruel mills access to New York’s consumers, while still allowing pet stores to sell food and other products, or offer services such as grooming, boarding, and training, and drive consumers to their stores by partnering with shelters or rescues to host adoption events.

The majority of pet stores in New York – both large chains and “mom and pop shops” – do not sell puppies, kittens, or rabbits, and according to the pet industry’s own reports, stores that do not sell pets are more profitable than those that do. Pet stores will have one year to comply with the new law, and New Yorkers will still be able to adopt pets from animal shelters and rescue organizations, or buy dogs directly from responsible breeders.

Please see below for commentary from sponsors and supporters of the bill:

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris said, “After years of advocacy, I am thrilled New York State now affords our four-legged companions the dignity they deserve. It is my hope this is a critical step to ending the scourge of puppy mills once and for all. I thank Governor Hochul for signing our Puppy Mill Pipeline bill into law, my friend Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and the indefatigable advocates who made this possible.”

“It is an amazing end-of-the year gift to finally have the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill become law! New Yorkers will soon be able to adopt the cute puppies, kittens and bunnies they see in pet store windows without supporting the cruel puppy mill industry,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF - Manhattan), Assembly sponsor of the bill. “Too many families have been left heartbroken after bringing home an animal they bought at the pet store only to realize it is sick and will require thousands of dollars in veterinary care that cannot cure congenital conditions. Some of the worst puppy mills around the country have long supplied New York’s pet stores with animals that were raised in inhumane conditions, churning out litter after litter to drive a profit. With the signing of this legislation, New York State will finally close the puppy mill pipeline and encourage shelters and rescues to work with local pet stores to place animals into loving homes. This victory could not have been achieved without the participation of the many animal welfare organizations and their members who have been tireless in their efforts to pass this bill into law, and because of their work, we are another step closer to ending the barbaric puppy mill industry nationwide.”

“My dog Sami was rescued from a puppy mill, where she spent two years living in a box, in the dark, without a name and she was forced to have puppies who were sold to pet stores,” said actor and animal advocate Edie Falco. “I’m grateful to Governor Hochul and New York lawmakers for taking action to protect other dogs from the horrific conditions Sami endured just to keep the cruel breeding industry in business, and as a lifelong New Yorker, I’m proud to have played a part in supporting the passage of this legislation to finally end our state’s participation in the cruel puppy mill to pet store pipeline.”

“The passage and signing of the Puppy Mill Pipeline law—which has been a longstanding goal for animal welfare groups across the state—is a historic win for New York’s animals, consumers, and communities. By ending the sale of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs in state pet shops, New York is shutting down the pipeline that enables retail sellers and commercial breeders to profit from unconscionable brutality,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “As a result, New York will go from having one of the country’s highest concentrations of pet stores that sell puppy mill puppies to a place that refuses to be an accomplice in this cruel process. We’re grateful to Assemblymember Rosenthal and Senator Gianaris for championing the passage of the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill and Governor Hochul for signing it, reflecting the deep compassion New Yorkers have for animals in need and a unified determination to reject animal cruelty statewide.”

“Our undercover investigations have exposed sick puppy sales and cruel practices in New York pet stores, highlighting the need for this historic law. New Yorkers will no longer be duped by pet stores into spending thousands of dollars on puppies who are often ill and almost always sourced from dismal puppy mills,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “The HSUS recognizes Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal for championing this legislation, and Governor Kathy Hochul for signing it into law.”

“With her signature, Governor Hochul is sending a clear message—New York will no longer be complicit in the animal abuse that is puppy mills. For the past decade, educated consumers have said no more—that’s why the number of pet stores selling milled animals has dropped from over 400 to 70 or so. Consumers can go to one of the many responsible small breeders in the Empire State if they want a specific breed—that option will always be available to people. What won’t be is purchasing puppies that are pumped full of antibiotics and steroids to perk them up for sale at unscrupulous pet stores and then fall deathly ill when taken home,” said Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. “Puppies and kittens are the last bastion of nonpartisanship—that is why this bill passed overwhelmingly in both houses of the NYS Legislature. The Federation’s network of shelters are ready to work with pet stores to help them rebrand as humane businesses by hosting adoption events. We know adopters will then spend their dollars at that store for supplies, food, etc.”

“We applaud Governor Hochul for her outstanding leadership in declaring that New York is closed to the abusive puppy, kitten and bunny mill industries,” said Allie Taylor, president of Voters for Animal Rights. “We hope more states will soon follow New York’s lead and make cruel breeding facilities a dark relic of the past. Thank you to Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and Senator Michael Gianaris for championing this historic law.”

“We are immensely grateful to Governor Hochul for signing the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill into law,” says Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Shutting down the puppy mill to pet store pipeline cuts off a critical revenue source for puppy mill operators, and will save countless animals from suffering. The New York legislature has taken a strong stand to protect companion animals and New Yorkers, and we applaud their leadership.”

“Over the last 10 years, CAPS has investigated every pet shop in New York – originally 100 and now 60 – and many of the puppy and kitten mills selling to them. Our short documentary, video exposés, and in-depth investigation reports reveal rampant consumer fraud and deception at the pet shops and inhumane, abhorrent conditions at the mills, most of them USDA-licensed,” said Barbara Dennihy, New York director of the Companion Animal Protection Society. “The enactment of a statewide retail ban on the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits at pet shops will have a profound impact on this cruel industry and will inspire more states to follow suit.”

“In signing the puppy mill pipeline bill into law, Governor Hochul, on behalf of New Yorkers everywhere, is preventing mill bred dogs, cats, and rabbits from being sold in New York pet stores. This law protects animals from inhumane treatment and suffering, encourages animal adoption and safeguards consumers and our communities,” commented Rebecca Seltzer and Robyn Hederman, Co-Chairs, New York City Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee.

About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) was the first animal welfare organization to be established in North America and today serves as the nation’s leading voice for vulnerable and victimized animals. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation with more than two million supporters nationwide, the ASPCA is committed to preventing cruelty to dogs, cats, equines, and farm animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA assists animals in need through on-the-ground disaster and cruelty interventions, behavioral rehabilitation, animal placement, legal and legislative advocacy, and the advancement of the sheltering and veterinary community through research, training, and resources. For more information, visit www.ASPCA.org, and follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About the Humane Society of the United States

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at humanesociety.org.

Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast.

About New York State Animal Protection Federation

The New York State Animal Protection Federation is the voice of all the non-profit and municipal animal shelters, humane societies and SPCAs across the state. The Federation serves as an educational and policy-development resource and through a united voice, promotes favorable legislative initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nysapf.org and follow us on Facebook. You can also download our app on New York State’s animal laws at http://www.nysapf.org/nys-animal-law-app.

About Voters For Animal Rights

Voters for Animal Rights’ mission is to help elect candidates who support animal protection, lobby for strong laws to stop animal cruelty, and hold elected officials accountable to humane voters in New York State. Through the political process, we are building a coalition of advocates seeking to strike at the root cause of animal abuse and cruelty, which is a lack of fundamental rights and laws to protect them. Learn more at vfar.org and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and T witter.

About Companion Animal Protection Society

Founded in 1992, the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy/kitten mills. CAPS addresses animal suffering through investigations, outreach, legislation, legal advocacy, consumer assistance, and rescue.

About the Animal Legal Defense Fund

Forty years of fighting for animals: The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit aldf.org.

About the New York City Bar Association

The mission of the New York City Bar Association, which was founded in 1870 and has 24,000 members, is to equip and mobilize a diverse legal profession to practice with excellence, promote reform of the law, and uphold the rule of law and access to justice in support of a fair society and the public interest in our community, our nation, and throughout the world. www.nycbar.org

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SOURCE ASPCA