Albany, New York (AP) — New York on Thursday became the latest state to ban the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits in pet stores in an effort to target commercial breeding operations that critics denounce as dog “factories.”
The new law, which Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law and takes effect in 2024, allows pet stores to work with shelters instead to offer rescued or abandoned animals for adoption. It would also prevent breeders from selling more than nine animals a year.
“It’s a very big deal. New York tends to be a big buyer and profit from these plants, and we’re trying to reduce demand at the retail level,” said Democratic Senator Michael Giannaris.
He added that the puppy mill industry treats animals “like commodities,” and “no pet store is unaffected,” he said.
Pet stores have argued that the law will do nothing to close out-of-state breeders or raise their standards of care, and have said it would close the dozens of pet stores remaining in New York City.
California enacted a similar law in 2017, becoming the first state to ban such sales. While this law requires pet stores to work with animal shelters or sanctuaries, as New York currently does, it does not regulate sales to private breeders.
A handful of states followed suit. In 2020, Maryland banned the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores, deflecting store owners and breeders who challenged the measure in court. A year later, Illinois banned pet stores from selling commercially bred puppies and kittens.
In New York, pet rights groups have called for the complete closure of facilities that raise and sell animals for profit, saying the animals are raised in inhumane conditions before being shipped to stores.
The new law could be a death sentence for the company he has worked for for more than a decade, said Emilio Ortiz, manager of New York pet store Citippups.
Ninety percent of our business is selling dogs. “We’re not going to survive this,” said Ortiz, who considers the ban unfair to shops that work with responsible breeders. They eliminated the good actors along with the bad ones. »
Jessica Selmer, president of People United to Protect Pet Integrity, an alliance of New York-based pet store owners, called the law “neglectful” and “counterproductive,” and said she hoped the governor would “consider legislative remedies for some of the shortcomings.” in the bill.” . “
The new law will not affect hobby breeders who sell animals born and raised on their property.
Lisa Haney, who raises dogs in her Buffalo home alongside her husband, said she supports the law.
“A pet store near my house, they get dogs from all over the midwest and different large facilities, and you have no idea where they are from and who the breeder is. People are really clueless and they take the puppy,” Haney said.
His company, Cavapoo Kennels, focuses in part on breeding hypoallergenic dogs for allergy sufferers, and his business model is based on need. The waiting list ranges from six to 12 months, ensuring that every dog ends up in the house.
Giannaris said the law would allow shoppers to be more aware of the provenance of their pets.
“If a consumer walked into a factory and saw the horrible conditions,” he said, “he wouldn’t buy those animals.” Dealing with breeders lets people know where their dog is coming from and eliminates the middlemen who work to eliminate the horrible activity that goes on in the factory. »