New York State Senate passes bill banning pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits

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AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Senate has passed bipartisan legislation banning pet shops from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits. 

Senate sponsor Mike Gianaris says it cuts off what he calls the “puppy mill pipeline.”

“We should not be treating animals as if they are a commodity, as if they are a can of soup that we take off the shelf at the supermarket to buy,” he said.

An undercover investigation conducted by The Humane Society of the United States last year found that many New York pet stores obtained puppies from breeders that provided poor conditions. 

While the legislation blocks stores from selling the pets, they can work with animal rescue organizations to make animals available for adoption. 

Libby Post with the New York State Animal Protection Federation supports the bill. She says the adoption fees go directly to the shelters or rescues. Additionally, she says adoption events and opportunities provide foot traffic for the stores to continue to profit from product sales.

“Really the money is to be made in selling food, selling bedding, selling flea and tick medication, selling the funny costumes we put on our dogs on Halloween,” Post said.

People can also buy pets directly from responsible breeders. 

The bill passed in the Senate last year but didn’t get to the floor in the Assembly. This year advocates are looking for a different outcome. 

“We’re seeing some progress in the Assembly this year. Hopefully, we get this enacted before the session is out,” Gianaris said.

The legislation would take effect one year after becoming law. 

Some other measures passed in the Senate Wednesday clarify the definition of what’s considered aggravated animal cruelty, require abandoned property to be inspected for animals, and require courts to consider the best interest of a pet when it comes to possession in a divorce.

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