New York Lawmakers Pass Groundbreaking Bill to End the Retail Sale of Dogs, Cats, and Rabbits in Pet Stores

Animal welfare groups urge Gov. Hochul to sign bill to shut down the puppy mill pipeline
June 3, 2022

NEW YORK – Today, animal welfare groups commended the New York State Legislature for passing the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill, groundbreaking legislation that will end 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 bill now heads to Gov. Kathy Hochul. If signed into law, it would stop the flow of cruelly bred puppies into New York.

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

Right now, out-of-state 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 are designed to 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 who are shipped and sold to pet stores. 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.

This cruel and broken system is made possible because it’s still legal to sell dogs in New York pet stores, leaving New York to become one of the puppy mill industry’s largest markets. When the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill is signed into law, New York will shut down this pipeline and deny cruel mills access to New York’s communities.

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

“Puppy mills breed cruelty. Banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in New York pet stores will deal the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline a near-mortal blow,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). “The cute puppies, kittens and bunnies in pet store windows mask a sad reality: these animals are products of horrific neglect in puppy mills. Puppy, kitty and bunny mills use and abuse animals to churn out pets for sale, which are often riddled with congenital diseases, that cost unsuspecting consumers hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinary bills and incalculable emotional stress. Over the years we have tried to regulate pet stores, but the industry continues to prioritize profits over the welfare of animals. My legislation will finally shut down the pet store-to-puppy mill pipeline once and for all.”

"With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for abusive puppy mills to supply pet stores. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “I am proud to have authored this important bill and thrilled to see it pass the Legislature. And now I am hopeful Governor Hochul will sign it into law. Thanks to Assembly Member Rosenthal for her partnership and all the advocates who made this possible." 

“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 actress and animal advocate Edie Falco. “I’m grateful that New York lawmakers have taken action to protect other dogs from the horrific conditions Sami endured just to keep the cruel breeding industry in business, and I urge Governor Hochul to quickly sign this critical bill into law to finally end our state’s participation in the cruel puppy mill to pet store pipeline.” 

Once signed into law, the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill will finally end the sale of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs in pet shops across New York state, which has one of the country’s highest concentrations of pet stores that sell puppies,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “Shutting down the puppy mill pipeline will help stop retail sellers and commercial breeders from engaging in—and profiting from—unconscionable brutality. We’re grateful to Assemblymember Rosenthal and Senator Gianaris for championing the passage of the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill and urge Governor Hochul to sign it to signal New York’s determination to reject animal cruelty statewide.”

“Today’s vote makes it clear that New Yorkers flatly reject cruel puppy mills and their pet store sales outlets,” said Brian Shapiro, New York state director for the Humane Society of the United States. We applaud Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris for their steadfast commitment to bringing this historic bill over the finish line and respectfully urge Governor Kathy Hochul to take similar action by swiftly signing this legislation into law.”

“We recently rescued a female 6-year-old Golden Retriever from an Amish Puppy Mill in Ohio. The options from the owner were—someone come and get her, or I’ll take her out back and shoot her. Needless to say, she was rescued. We named her Sophie. She only weighs 40 lbs—she was bred every six months and never given the chance to grow. When she came to us, Sophie hid in a corner for three days. She’s been with us just shy of 7 months and she still suffers from Puppy Mill PTSD,” said Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. “We all focus on the puppies. We also need to focus on the lives these breeding dogs live in a cage, bred over and over until they’re spent. Shutting down the Puppy Mill Pipeline means New York will no longer be complicit in animal abuse.”

"We're beyond grateful that the New York legislature has passed a groundbreaking bill signaling to the abusive puppy mill industry that cruelty has no place in the Empire State, said Allie Taylor, President of Voters For Animal Rights. "This bipartisan legislation echoes the wishes of compassionate voters and sends a resounding message to commercial dog, cat and rabbit breeders that New York pet stores will no longer be an avenue for their cruelty. Thank you to Linda Rosenthal and Senator Michael Gianaris for championing this historic bill. We now call on Governor Hochul to quickly sign it into law."

“Banning the retail sale of puppies sends a clear message to puppy mills: New York does not support business models built on animal cruelty,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “This law is an important step forward, combating commercial operations that put profits over the well-being and health of animals.”

“New York has a long and proud tradition of protecting animals through its laws. This bill is no exception. It targets the cruel commercial breeding of dogs, cats, and rabbits; further, the bill promotes animal adoption, and protects consumers and the environment," said Robyn Hederman and Rebecca Seltzer, Co-Chairs, New York City Bar Association Animal Law Committee.  “The New York City Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee applauds the Assembly for moving the bill one step closer to becoming law.”