Goodbye to the “puppy mills” in New York after a law that will prohibit the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores

By Maysoon Khan The Associated Press

New York on Thursday became the latest state to ban the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits in pet stores, in an attempt to curb commercial breeding in so-called “puppy mills.”

The new law, which will take effect in 2024, was signed by Governor Kathy Hochul. Look for pet stores to work with rescued and abandoned animal shelters to offer them adoption.

“This is a very important matter. (People in) New York tend to buy a lot from these factories and we are trying to cut demand by addressing supply,” said Democratic Senator Michael Gianaris.

He added that the Puppy mills treat animals “like merchandise” and he said “there’s no pet store that doesn’t do the same.”

Pet stores have argued that the law will do nothing to stop out-of-state breeders or raise their animal care standards, saying the measure will close dozens of stores in New York.

The ban will take effect in 2024.Getty Images

California enacted a similar law in 2017, becoming the first state to ban such animal sales. While that law requires pet stores to work with shelters and rescuers (as New York seeks to do), it does not regulate the sale of pets from breeders on the black market.

A handful of states followed in California’s footsteps. In 2020, Maryland prohibited the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores, which led to the rejection of business owners, who appealed the measure in court. One year later, Illinois took a similar step.

In New York, companion animal groups have long called for the complete closure of facilities that breed and sell animals for profit, alleging that they are raised in inhumane conditions before being shipped to stores.

Emilio Ortiz, manager of the Citipups pet store in New York, says the new law could mean a death sentence for his business, which has been in business for more than a decade.

“90% of our business is selling dogs. We are not going to survive this.”said Ortiz, who considers the ban unfair to stores that work with responsible breeders. “They are shutting down the good guys along with the bad guys.”

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Jessica Selmer, president of People United to Protect Pet Integrity, a New York coalition of pet store owners, called the law “inconsiderate” and “counterproductive” and said she hopes the governor will “consider legislative remedies to some of the points in the bill”.

The new law will not affect home-based farms that sell animals born and raised on their property. Lisa Haney, who raises dogs in her Buffalo home with her husband, said she supports the measure.

“A pet store near my house gets dogs from all over the Midwest and large facilities, and you have no idea where they come from or who the breeder is. People buy the puppies without knowing,” he said.

His business, Cavapoo Kennels, is focused in part on breeding hypoallergenic dogs for allergy sufferers, and his business model is built around solving specific needs like that. The waiting list is six to twelve months, ensuring that each dog gets a home.

Gianaris says the law will allow buyers to be more aware of where their pets come from. “If a buyer were to visit a hatchery and see the terrible conditions, they would not would buy These animals”.

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