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UPDATE: NY Puppy Mill Bill Passed!

New Law Will Allow Local Municipalities to More Closely Regulate Pet Stores and Puppy Mills

Great news for all who care about the welfare of animals! Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation into law that is designed to help protect dogs and cats across the State by allowing local municipalities to adopt more stringent laws to regulate pet dealers.

“We are thrilled that the Governor chose to take a stand on behalf of innocent animals,” said Joanne Yohannan, Senior VP of Operations at North Shore Animal League America, which spoke out for the law’s passage.

Until the bill was signed, New York was one of the few states in the nation that had a law prohibiting municipalities from enacting local laws that would regulate the care of animals by pet dealers. These dealers, which include larger breeders and pet store owners, were governed only by New York State laws, which require minimal—and inadequate—protection of animals sold to the public.

The law has potentially far-reaching implications in that it will allow municipalities to create laws that regulate where New York pet stores source their animals, which is largely from puppy mills.

“The vast majority of dogs sold in pet stores and over the Internet come from puppy mills—inhumane commercial breeding facilities where dogs are kept in tiny wire cages often for years on end, with little if any medical care or socialization,” says Yohannan. “Over the past five years, we’ve rescued thousands of dogs from these mills, and we’ve witnessed first-hand the poor treatment they have endured.”

In addition, a municipality could draft policies that require all dogs and cats they sell to be spayed and neutered. Similar legislation was passed in New York City several years ago, but was not enforced because it violated the preemption clause, which no longer exists because of the new bill’s passage. Spay/neuter is a crucial tool to helping us move toward our goal of a no-kill nation. The new law can also limit the sale of dogs and cats from puppy mills.

Although the New York bill is a great first step, what’s important now is that local laws be passed. Here are some ideas to suggest to your legislators:

  • Limit the sale of puppy mill dogs and cats from pet shops by requiring that most of the animals offered for “sale” are from animal shelters, humane societies or animal rescue organizations.
  • Require spay/neuter of pet store animals except if the animal’s health would be jeopardized. 
  • Limit the number of dogs and cats one can have for breeding and selling.
  • Ban pet stores from selling animals from a breeder who has been convicted of animal mistreatment.
  • Require sprinklers/fire detection in pet stores and kennels.

To learn more about how you can help put an end to puppy mills, please click here.