Starting in 2024, retail pet stores in New York will no longer be able to sell dogs, cats or rabbits, thanks to new legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Cathy Hochul.
Restrictions- which are also applicable in some other states likeand Illinois — an effort to end the abusive breeding practices rampant by puppy and kitten mills, which often provide the animals as pets, according to Hochul’s office.
“The dogs, cats and rabbits in New York deserve loving homes and humane treatment,” the governor said in a statement. “I am proud to have signed this legislation, which will take meaningful steps to cut down on harsh treatment and protect the welfare of animals across the state.”
The law targets breeding systems that abuse animals and fail to provide proper veterinary care, feeding and socialization.
Customers who buy pets from these mills can often end up racking up thousands of dollars in veterinary bills later.
Assemblymember Linda B. “The State of New York will no longer allow cruel inhumane puppy mills across the country to supply our pet stores and profit from animal cruelty and uncaring consumers,” Rosenthal said in a statement following the adoption of the new law. “Countless families will be spared the pain of spending thousands on a beloved new pet that is genetically damaged and chronically ill.”
In addition to banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, the new policy will allow those stores to charge shelters rent in exchange for using their space for adoption services.
“By eliminating the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, shelters and rescues will be able to showcase adoptable animals with these stores and place them in forever homes,” Rosenthal explained in his statement. “
The bill originally passed in June with bipartisan support, but Hochul made changes before signing it — adding an adoption amendment, as well as moving the implementation date to 2024.
State Senator Michael Giannaris of Queens voiced his support for Hochul’s decision, calling it a “great day for our four-legged friends.”
People United to Protect Pet Integrity (PUPPI), a coalition that advocates for pet stores in New York, was not pleased with the new law, claiming it would force many small pet stores to close .
PUPPI President Jessica Selmer called the legislation “counterproductive” and said she hoped the governor would “consider legislative remedies to some of the bill’s disadvantages” in a statement provided to The Associated Press.
California was the first state to pass a similar law in 2017, followed byin 2020 and Illinois in 2021.
New York’s ban will not affect breeders who raise, raise and sell animals born on their property.