Purchasing pets like cats, dogs and bunnies from mall pet stores will soon be a thing of the past under a new state law that bans the animals from being sold in retail pet shops.
The law, which takes effect near the end of the year, is expected to have a significant impact on pet stores throughout New York.
Bradford Greene loves adopting dogs from the shelter. That's where he got his two pit mixes, Clover and Sage.
“This is what I would prefer to do to save the dogs from being heartbroken in a shelter all the time," Greene said.
What You Need To Know
- A law that takes effect Dec. 15 bans the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits by retail pet shops
- Critics say the ban doesn’t do much to solve the problem at its core, like holding inhumane breeders directly accountable
- About 2% of sales in the industry nationally come from the sale of live animals
He said he has nothing against breeders, but he does have a problem with puppy mills. His dog Sage was used for puppies and then left outside.
A new law supporters call the “Puppy Mill Pipeline” law goes into effect on Dec. 15. It bans the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits by retail pet shops.
"New York could no longer be complicit in animal abuse. Because that's what it's been for all this time that puppies and kittens and rabbits were being sold in pet stores. It's animal abuse," said Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation.
Critics of the law say the ban doesn’t do much to solve the puppy mill problem at its core, like holding inhumane breeders directly accountable.
“It makes it even harder for the consumers in New York state that are looking for a specific type of puppy to get one safely. They have to turn to other avenues like the internet that's even less regulated and with less oversight, and it subjects them to the risk of online scams," said Emilio Ortiz, manager at CitiPups.
Ortiz said it will force dozens of pet shops across the state to close, including his, since about 90% of sales at his shop are from the sale of puppies. Pet stores will be allowed rent space to shelters and rescues, opening their doors for adoption events.
Pet shop supporters are fighting back by introducing a bill they’re calling “The Puppy Well Being Act,” an alternative to the statewide ban. Ortiz said it would allow responsible pet shops to continue selling animals by working with responsible breeders, as long as they’re sourcing dogs from breeders that are putting a greater degree of emphasis on a dog’s physical health.
He said the bill also establishes breeding limits and requires the breeders to house their dogs in high-quality spaces.
Post, however, said that nationally, only about 2% of sales in the industry come from the sale of live animals.
“This is an opportunity, actually, for pet stores to rebrand as humane businesses. Look at PetSmart. Look at Petco. They don't sell puppies and kittens, right? They sell supplies," Post said.
Post said every pet store is registered with the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, and they’ll be keeping tabs to make sure pet stores are upholding the new law.