Animal Welfare Groups Commend NYS Senate for Passing Historic Bill to Shut Down the Puppy Mill Pipeline

Bill to end the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in New York pet stores is approved on “No Pet Store Puppies Day”
July 21, 2020

NEW YORK – Today, the New York State Senate approved S.4234-A, 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. The groups commended the bill’s passage, which appropriately comes on “No Pet Store Puppies Day,” celebrated annually on July 21.

A companion bill (A.6298-A) was introduced in the Assembly by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) and it is currently pending action in that chamber.

“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for pet stores to sell animals that predominantly come from abusive puppy and kitten mills. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “I am thankful my legislation passed the Senate and look forward to further progress in the future."

“The puppy mill industry is barking mad and propagating falsehoods to block this bill in the New York State Assembly,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Until we pass a law to stop the sales of dogs and cats in pet stores, more well-meaning animal lovers will be duped into buying sick animals that will cost them both financially and emotionally. Animals and consumers alike will continue to be at risk until we shut down the puppy mill-to-pet-store pipeline once and for all.”

“Pet stores that sell puppies may look good from the window, but rely on a recklessly inhumane system to make money, importing potentially sick animals from out-of-state puppy mills and deceptively passing them off to consumers as healthy pets from responsible breeders,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “Today as we recognize No Pet Store Puppies Day, New York State is one step closer to shutting down the puppy mill pipeline for good and protecting thousands of animals from suffering for the sake of profit. We thank Senator Gianaris for spearheading the passage of the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill in the Senate, and we look forward to working with Assemblymember Rosenthal to move it forward in the Assembly.”

“This legislation protects consumers and makes it clear that New York rejects puppy mills as a source for family pets,” said Brian Shapiro, New York State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Today’s historic vote will lead to the state Assembly where this important animal protection campaign will continue. We thank the New York State Senate for taking meaningful action to protect our pets.”

“If consumers knew where the puppies, kittens and rabbits sold at pet stores came from they would be appalled. The conditions and treatment these animals endure is inexcusable,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. “Senator Gianaris’ bill is the crucial first step in stopping pet stores and unwitting consumers bolstering an inhumane industry. We are so thankful for his leadership. The Federation represents shelters across New York that are happy to hold adoption events at local pet stores to help them rebrand as humane businesses that care about companion animals and the people who love them. Senate passage will help us build the momentum we need to pass this bill in the Assembly. Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal has been a tireless advocate for this bill in her house and we thank her, as well, for her leadership.”

“With thousands of homeless dogs, cats, and rabbits waiting to be adopted from animal shelters across New York State, it is cruel and unethical for pet stores to profit from breeding animals, often under horrific conditions,” said Allie Feldman Taylor, President of Voters For Animal Rights. “Voters For Animal Rights (VFAR) applauds Senator Michael Gianaris for championing this transformative legislation — a win for all New Yorkers, especially consumers and homeless animals seeking a second chance at life.”

“This is the first step in helping to shut down the puppy mill pipeline into New York State, protect the welfare of animals, and protect New York State consumers,” said Barbara Denihy, NYS state director for Companion Animal Protection Society. “Many of the animals pet stores source from are out of state, and poorly regulated. Dogs and cats are often sick from the conditions they are born and raised in, some suffer from congenital issues. We thank Senator Gianaris for his leadership on the important issues of animal welfare and for championing this piece of legislation.”

“We thank Senator Gianaris for championing this important legislation and applaud the Senate for taking steps to protect both dogs and New York families,” says Stephen Wells, Executive Director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “The era of stores selling puppies is waning thanks to the efforts of countless advocates.”

“The New York City Bar Association's Animal Law Committee is proud of New York's continued dedication to promoting animal adoption, reducing shelter euthanasia, and protecting consumers and the environment,” said Chris Wlach, Chair of the NYC Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee. “Senator Gianaris’ bill would help achieve those goals and we applaud the Senate for passing it.”

Legendary actress and lifelong New Yorker, Edie Falco, also hailed the passage of the bill, noting that it’s a cause close to her heart as her own dog, Sami, is a puppy mill survivor.

“My dog Sami spent two years living in a box, in the dark, without a name. She was forced to have puppies who were sold to pet stores, and that was her life,” said Edie Falco. “Every day, puppies are shipped to New York pet stores through a pipeline of out-of-state breeders, but today I’m thrilled to see that the New York State Senate has voted to break this cycle of cruelty by ending the retail sale of puppies in pet stores. Let’s make sure the Assembly takes similar action to pass this bill and shut down the puppy mill pipeline for good.” 

New York State has one of the highest concentrations of puppy selling pet stores in the country, with about 2,000 puppies for sale at any given time. 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.

After clearing the Senate, the bill now heads to the Assembly for their consideration. If the companion bill is approved by the Assembly, then New York will join other states and more than 350 localities in taking a strong stand against puppy mill cruelty.