ASPCA Applauds Gov. Cuomo for Signing Bill to Regulate Pet Dealers

New law protects dogs in New York’s commercial breeding facilities
January 10, 2014

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauds Gov. Andrew Cuomo for enacting a measure to regulate pet dealers in New York State. Sponsored by Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo) and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), the new law authorizes local governments to crack down on cruel and unscrupulous pet dealers throughout the state of New York.

“The puppy mill industry wanted to keep the state law unchanged because it allowed maximum profit and minimum accountability,” said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA. “But with this law, we’ll be able to keep a closer eye on these operations, stop inhumane practices, and undoubtedly save many lives. For New Yorkers and animal lovers – and animals themselves – this is a huge and important win. The ASPCA stands ready to assist local governments as they seek to enact and enforce tougher laws on pet stores and commercial breeders.”

This new law repeals the provisions of both the Agriculture and Markets Law and General Business Law, which prevented local governments from exercising their home rule powers to regulate pet dealers, such as retail pet breeders and pet stores throughout the state. It does not replace or compromise the state’s existing authority over pet dealers, but rather allows municipalities the option for greater local control and management if desired in their communities. The dogs housed in the state’s commercial breeding operations typically spend their lives in tiny, cramped, wire-floored cages that are stacked on top of each other, often outdoors, with no protection from the elements.

"Governor Cuomo has taken a critical step to reduce animal suffering, protect consumers and ease the financial burdens of municipalities by authorizing them to enact more stringent pet dealer laws and allowing citizens to have a voice regarding these retail businesses," said Bill Ketzer, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Northeast region. "We thank the Governor for once again giving a voice to animals, and Senator Grisanti and Assemblymember Rosenthal for their hard work in advancing this legislation to ensure that local governments are empowered to protect their communities."

"This new law allows forward-thinking local governments to regulate pet dealers, to ensure that unscrupulous commercial breeders do not evade oversight," said Senator Grisanti. "I thank the Governor for signing this piece of legislation to allow New York to effectively regulate puppy mills and put an end to abusive breeding techniques."

"With the signing of this law, localities will be empowered to regulate commercial dog breeders, and one by one, put an end to the abusive practices they employ,” said Assemblymember Rosenthal. “Anyone who makes a living by mistreating animals, such as puppy mill operators, will no longer be able to hide behind weak state laws.  This new law represents a huge victory in the battle to end puppy mills once and for all, and I look forward to working with local governments eager to enact local laws that will protect innocent animals and unsuspecting consumers."

In 2013, Gov. Cuomo expanded protections for New York’s animals significantly by signing three important animal welfare bills into law. In addition to regulating pet dealers, the new laws will increase penalties for the intentional killing of police animals, and improve the manner in which animal abusers are required to pay for the cost of care for abused animals that have been seized in cruelty cases.

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