The New York Legislature passed the “Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill” on June 3, 2022, prohibiting pet stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits.
Once the bill is signed into law by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, the entry of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs into New York will finally be stopped or minimized. The state is said to be one of the biggest markets for these animals.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (APSCA) president and CEO Matt Bershadker said, “Shutting down the puppy mill pipeline will help stop retail sellers and commercial breeders from engaging in – and profiting from – unconscionable brutality.”
The bill, supported by several animal rights groups, is sponsored by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris.
Rosenthal said in a statement, “the cute puppies, kittens, and bunnies in pet store windows mask a sad reality: these animals are products of horrific neglect in puppy mills.”
She added that these animals are “often riddled with congenital diseases that cost unsuspecting consumers hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinary bills and incalculable emotional stress.” The bill seeks to “finally shut down the pet store-to-puppy mill pipeline once and for all,” she said.
An underground investigation of American Kennels, a pet store in Manhattan, by the Humane Society of the United States in 2021 exposed that sick and dying puppies were stored in the basement hidden from the public’s view.
The investigation uncovered that at least 20 sick puppies were tucked away in a cold basement room without being given proper care by a veterinarian. The puppies are given ad hoc remedies when fallen sick and are forced-fed if they are not eating on their own.
A lot of these puppies were suffering from diarrhea, abscesses, parasite infestation, and other infections.
The dog’s cages were filled with feces and urine with no clean space to move around. Larger breeds were also stored in cages too small for their size.
The American Kennels store was permanently closed after the revelation.
Senate Bill S1130
The result of this investigation prompted the creation of the bill. Five other states have passed similar laws prohibiting the sale of animals in pet stores, with Massachusetts covering a more comprehensive ban that includes birds, reptiles, hamsters, and gerbils.
The bill does not prohibit people from buying pets directly from breeders but only through third-party sellers like pet shops. It also urges pet shops to “showcase” or host events with rescue groups to adopt animals.
The pet retail industry says that the bill would force nearly 700 pet shops in the state to go out of business and put thousands of people out of work.
However, this statement contradicts what Libby Post, an executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation, has said about local businesses switching to hosting adoption event-related activities and that they are doing well without any problems.
Many animal advocates also say that shelters offer veterinary check-ups and spay and neuter options, among other things that pet shops do not yet provide.