Matt’s Blog: Governor Hochul, Please Help Pets and People by Signing the NY Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill

June 6, 2022

two white and tan puppies

By ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker

New York State has one of the country's highest concentrations of pet stores that sell puppies. Given how much puppies and breeding dogs suffer in the pipeline that moves dogs from puppy mills into those pet stores, that’s a sad statistic the state of New York should be ashamed to own. Fortunately, Governor Hochul can now clean that stain and stand up for animals by signing into law the NY Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill (A.4283/S.1130).  

Puppy mills are cruel animal factories located mainly in the Midwest where puppies are kept in wire crates in extremely hot and cold temperatures without proper shelter, veterinary care, food, or socialization. Breeding dogs spend their entire lives in these conditions, forced to produce puppy after puppy. The only value these animals have to puppy mill operators is to deliver as many puppies as possible.

The puppies are then shipped out like appliances to pet stores and sold to unsuspecting customers as healthy animals—even when that claim is far from the truth. A recent ASPCA report[PDF] detailing where New York pet stores get their puppies from reveals 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.

Just last year, the ASPCA helped rescue more than 500 dogs living in horrific conditions at multiple Iowa properties operated by Daniel Gingerich, a USDA-licensed breeder. Despite the documentation of more than 200 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) at his facilities, his dogs continued to be bred, bought, sold to pet stores or brokers, and auctioned. Public documents show that more than one-third of New York's puppy-selling pet stores—including shops in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester, and Long Island—imported Gingerich's puppies. The USDA has fallen down on the job, and its failure is harming New Yorkers as well as the dogs who suffer in these mills.

This situation is unconscionable, which is why the pipeline that powers this cruel enterprise needs to be shut down. The NY Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill (A.4283/S.1130) will do just that by ending the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits at pet stores across New York. The bill won broad bipartisan support in the Legislature and now only awaits Governor Hochul's signature.

The Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill, sponsored by Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), is supported by local and national animal welfare groups including the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, the New York State Animal Protection Federation, Voters For Animal Rights, the Companion Animal Protection Society, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the NYC Bar Association's Animal Law Committee, as well as millions of New York animal lovers who support ending the sale of puppies in pet stores.

It's imperative that Governor Hochul take this action to prevent inhumane operators from engaging in—and profiting from—appalling animal brutality. If you live in New York, please join us in asking her to sign the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill into law, protecting New York's animals, consumers, and families, and signaling our collective determination to reject animal cruelty statewide.