New York Poised to Become Third State to Ban the Sale of Puppies in Pet Stores

March 11, 2019

a black puppy

Empire State animal advocates, rejoice: New York State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal have introduced ASPCA-supported legislation (A.6298/S.4234) to prohibit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores

Despite pet stores’ claims that their puppies come from well-regulated, humane breeders, dogs bred in the commercial facilities that supply pet stores often spend their entire lives in small, dirty, wire cages. Mother and father dogs are treated as nothing more than breeding machines, and puppies as nothing more than products. 

If the bill passes, New York could become the third state (after California and Maryland) to take this strong stand against puppy mill cruelty—and not a moment too soon. At any given time, there are approximately 2,000 puppies for sale in pet shops throughout the state. “Having one of the country’s highest concentrations of pet stores, New York State needs to end the sale of puppy mill dogs. With this bill, New York lawmakers are fighting puppy mill cruelty and rejecting the callous treatment of pets as commodities,” says ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker. 

While prohibiting the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, the bill would continue to allow pet stores to offer quality products and services and to offer space to shelters and rescues to showcase animals available for adoption from these organizations. 

“My new legislation to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores statewide will finally end the puppy-mill-to-pet-store pipeline. Animals such as puppies, kittens and bunnies in mills live short, tortured existences; their offspring, usually the animals offered for sale at pet stores, are often riddled with congenital issues as a result of the poor conditions and breeding practices employed,” said bill sponsor Assemblymember Rosenthal. “Unsuspecting customers pay thousands of dollars for a cute puppy or kitten, only to find that the animal is incurably sick. By ensuring that pet stores can offer only rescues for adoption, this legislation will protect consumers and help to shut down the mills. Our animal shelters and rescue organizations are overflowing with animals needing forever homes; it's time we start connecting rescue animals with loving homes through adoption in pet stores."

The ASPCA encourages New Yorkers to contact their legislators in support of S.4234/A.6298, and we are grateful to Senator Gianaris and Assemblymember Rosenthal for moving the needle forward with this bill to protect pets and consumers.

Don’t live in New York?  Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to be notified when important animal-related legislation is introduced in your area! More than 290 cities/towns across America have banned the retail sale of cruelly bred puppies … yours could be next.

P.S. Attention, New Yorkers: We’re putting out an urgent call for YOUR stories. Did you purchase a puppy from a pet store? Rescue a puppy mill dog? Your story and photos could aid us tremendously as we work to ban the sale of cruelly bred puppies in New York pet stores. Tell us about your experience!