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New York pet stores will be banned from selling pets

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Steve Bittenbender

(The Center Square) – Beginning in 2024, New Yorkers won’t have to worry about how much the doggy costs in the store window.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed Senate Bill S1130/Assembly Bill A4283 into law on Thursday. The legislation will prohibit retail pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits.

The purpose behind the measure is to put a stop to so-called “puppy mill” breeders who use abusive tactics and supply animals to retail outlets. Proponents say animals bought at pet stores are often sick, and can cost their new owners significant amounts of money to properly treat their new family members.

“Dogs, cats and rabbits across New York deserve loving homes and humane treatment,” Hochul said.

When the ban takes effect, New York will join California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland and Washington as states that have banned retail pet sales.

Some retailers opposed the move saying it would force them to close. “This bill would not shut down one single breeder,” Buffalo pet store owner David Boelkes told the New York Post last month. “It would only make it harder for people to obtain a puppy through a transparent source.”

However, according to the Humane Society of the United States, most pet shops don’t sell puppies, kittens or bunnies. In addition, the group cited industry reports that indicate pet stores that don’t sell animals are more profitable than those that do.

“Our undercover investigations have exposed sick puppy sales and cruel practices in New York pet stores, highlighting the need for this historic law. New Yorkers will no longer be duped by pet stores into spending thousands of dollars on puppies who are often ill and almost always sourced from dismal puppy mills,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. 

While no longer allowing retail sales, the new law will allow shops to rent space at their stores to shelters and other organizations that can coordinate adoptions.

“New York State will no longer allow brutally inhumane puppy mills around the country to supply our pet stores and earn a profit off animal cruelty and unsuspecting consumers,” said Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the Assembly bill. “By ending the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, shelters and rescues will be able to partner with these stores to showcase adoptable animals and place them into forever homes.”