New York is set to ban the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits in pet stores next year, pushing customers to adopt pets for their homes.
A long-debated bill banning the sale of these animals in state pet stores was passed by the state legislature earlier this year, and it is currently awaiting Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature.
It is intended to target the puppy mill industry, which often breeds cats, dogs and other animals in inhumane conditions for future sale at a high price. This treatment can lead to bad behavior or physical health problems for the animal later in life.
“Families are often unprepared for the financial loss and heartache that comes with buying a sick puppy,” read a statement from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in June, after the passage of the bill in New York.
Pet store owners have pushed back against the legislation, saying it unfairly labels all pet stores as accomplices to animal cruelty and the puppy mill pipeline, and would put them out of business if enacted.
New York isn’t alone in giving the green light to this type of legislation — other states like California and Illinois have passed similar bans in recent years. New York Attorney General Letitia James has sued several pet stores in recent years for lying to customers about the origin of her dogs for sale (the dogs came from commercial breeders and puppy mills) or for failing to to disclose the true breeds or medical conditions of the puppies.
“Our animals should not be treated like commodities,” Sen. Michael Gianaris, D-Queens, sponsor of the latest bill, tweeted in June.
Here’s what that will mean for people hoping to bring a new pet into their family very soon.
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The bill would not apply to breeders
It would only apply to retail pet stores or “any for-profit establishment that sells or offers for sale animals to be kept as pets,” according to the text of the bill.
But the ban would not include breeders who “sell directly to consumers animals born and raised on the breeder’s residential premises”.
This would allow pet stores to work together to offer pets for adoption
Pet stores could present their animals to future owners at adoption events in conjunction with local adoption agencies.
The move could help ease pressure on New York shelters or adoption centers, some of which have an overflow of dogs that were acquired during the pandemic but have since been returned or abandoned as their former owners returned. in their offices, Libby Post of the New York State Animal Welfare Federation told The New York Times.
If signed, it will come into force next year
If you’re in the process of buying a pet from a local pet store, don’t worry about the sale being cancelled.
If Hochul signs the bill, it will not take effect until one year after that date.