NYS Senate Passes Bill to Shut Down the Puppy Mill Pipeline

Animal welfare groups commend NYS Senate for approving bill to end the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in New York pet stores
May 10, 2022

NEW YORK – Today, the New York State Senate approved S.1130, 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.

A companion bill (A.4283) was introduced in the Assembly by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). The Assembly version of the bill was approved by the Assembly Codes Committee today and will now go to the Assembly Rules Committee for consideration. 

“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for puppy mills that abuse animals to supply pet stores. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “I am pleased this important proposal continues to build momentum in the legislature.”

"It's no secret that puppy mills breed cruelty, but many people still do not realize that when you buy an animal from a pet store, you are unwittingly supporting puppy mills. The vast majority of dogs, cats and rabbits sold in New York State pet stores come from factory-like mills and we have seen countless families duped into paying top dollar for sick animals from these stores," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), Chair of the Committee on Social Services. "Over the years we have tried to regulate pet stores, but the industry continues to prioritize profits over the welfare of animals. The only way to finally shut down puppy mills is to end the puppy mill to pet store pipeline, and I am so pleased that the State Senate passed this bill sponsored by State Senator Gianaris. Stores that sell live animals are a dying breed while the pet supply industry is a multi-billion-dollar business. With 77 cosponsors in the Assembly, I look forward to this bill soon becoming law." 

“Having one of the country’s highest concentrations of pet stores that sell puppies, New York State needs to end the sale of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs in pet shops by finally passing the New York Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill,” 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 are thrilled to see the Senate pass this bill, and we look forward to working with Senator Gianaris and Assemblymember Rosenthal to advance the bill through the full Legislature to make it law, signaling New York’s determination to reject animal cruelty statewide.”

“New York’s remaining pet stores are joined at the hip with puppy mills. This long-overdue legislation seeks to protect our state’s consumers and companion animals from the scourge of puppy mill cruelty,” said Brian Shapiro, New York state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “We applaud Senator Gianaris and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal for championing this game-changing bill and for their tireless work aimed at shutting down the horrible puppy mill-to-New York pipeline.” 

“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. “This bill stops pet stores and unwitting consumers from bolstering an inhumane industry. We are so thankful for the leadership of Senator Michael Gianaris, the bill’s sponsor, and Senator Michelle Hinchey, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee for their steadfast 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 thanks to bill sponsor Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and all the members who are co-sponsoring the bill.”

"During the pandemic, the puppy mill industry has demonstrated their unscrupulous and greedy practices by preying on the emotions of consumers during this very challenging time. While animal shelters worked in partnership with local communities to find homes for thousands of homeless animals, the puppy mill industry ramped up breeding and sales operations to sell as many dogs and kittens as possible for the highest prices possible. They have proven, once again, that they have no interest in protecting animals or consumers,” 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.”

“Companion Animal Protection Society has conducted over 100 undercover investigations of every New York pet store and many of the puppy and kitten mills that sell to them since we started in 2013,” said Deborah Howard, President Companion Animal Protection Society. “Our findings demonstrate the critical need for a law that shuts down the puppy mill pipeline into NYS ending the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits.”

“Shutting down the puppy mill pipeline at retail stores cuts off a critical revenue source for puppy mill operators,” says Stephen Wells, Executive Director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Federal standards for these facilities are notoriously lax, making this bill critical to keeping companion animals safe in New York and to serve as a model for other states.”

“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 Senate for moving the bill one step closer to passage.”

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 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.

A new report detailing where pet stores in New York really get their puppies shows that almost half of the puppies shipped to New York pet stores arrive by truck from Missouri – home to the highest concentration of puppy mills in the U.S. This cruel and broken system is made possible because, in New York State, it’s still legal to sell cruelly bred dogs in pet stores. The Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill will strike a major blow to the cruel and deceptive puppy mill industry by ending the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in New York pet stores. 

With passage in the Senate, the bill must now be approved by the Assembly. If the bill is approved in that house, New York will join other states and hundreds of localities in taking a strong stand against puppy mill cruelty. 

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 Twitter

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