New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal Announces Bill to Ban Sale of Dogs, Cats and Rabbits in Pet Stores Statewide

Albany, NY – As the 2022-23 Legislative session wound to a close nearly 24 hours after it was scheduled to conclude, Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal’s legislation (A4283/S1130) to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores statewide was passed by the New York State Assembly. The bill, which was sponsored by Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris, had passed the State Senate earlier in the session.

“Puppy mills breed cruelty. Banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in New York pet stores will deal with puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline a near-mortal blow,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). “The cute puppies, kittens and bunnies in pet store windows mask a sad reality: these animals are products of horrific neglect in puppy mills. Puppy, kitty and bunny mills use and abuse animals to churn out pets for sale, which are often riddled with congenital diseases, that cost unsuspecting consumers hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinary bills and incalculable emotional stress. Over the years we have tried to regulate pet stores, but the industry continues to prioritize profits over the welfare of animals. My legislation will finally shut down the pet store-to-puppy mill pipeline once and for all.”

The legislation, once it is signed into law, will prohibit pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits, and will instead allow them to make space available to show animals that are available for adoption. There are around 60 pet stores that sell live animals in operation in the State of New York. In the last two years, more than 20 pet stores that sell live animals have closed.

“This legislation is a vital piece of animal and consumer protection legislation. By allowing pet stores to showcase animals that are available for adoption, it will ensure that totally adoptable shelter animals find their fur-ever homes. At the same time, pet stores can attract customers to their brick-and-mortar shops by featuring these animals, thereby tapping into the multi-billion-dollar pet supplies and care market. This bill is a win-win-win,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.

"With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for abusive puppy mills to supply pet stores. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities. I am proud to have authored this important bill and thrilled to see it pass the Legislature. And now I am hopeful Governor Hochul will sign it into law. Thanks to Assembly Member Rosenthal for her partnership and all the advocates who made this possible,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris.

Assemblymember Rosenthal has been working on animal welfare issues since she was first elected in 2006. As always, she is grateful for the continued partnership of Bill Ketzer, Senior Legislative Director, Eastern Division at ASPCA, Libby Post, Executive Director, New York State Animal Protection Federation, Brian Shapiro, New York State Director, Humane Society of the United States and Allie Taylor, Founder and President, Voters for Animal Rights. They are fierce advocates for animal welfare and have collectively made this state safer and more humane for animals large and small.

“Once signed into law, the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill will finally end the sale of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs in pet shops across New York state, which has one of the country’s highest concentrations of pet stores that sell puppies,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “Shutting down the puppy mill pipeline will help stop retail sellers and commercial breeders from engaging in—and profiting from—unconscionable brutality. We’re grateful to Assemblymember Rosenthal and Senator Gianaris for championing the passage of the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill and urge Governor Hochul to sign it to signal New York’s determination to reject animal cruelty statewide.”

“As someone who has rescued a golden retriever who was used to breed every six months at an Amish puppy mill in Ohio, I’ve witnessed the trauma our Sophie has gone through. We all focus on the puppies. But the abuse of the breeding dogs is where it all starts,” said Libby Post, Executive Director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation. “Passing the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill means New Yorkers will no longer be complicit in animal abuse. The shelters and animal welfare organizations represented by the Federation thank Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal for their commitment to this effort. It’s been a long time coming.”

"New York has taken a strong and historic stand to protect both animals and consumers from the scourge of puppy mill cruelty, leading the way for other states to follow," said Brian Shapiro, New York State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. "The HSUS recognizes Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and Senator Mike Gianaris for their tireless work protecting animals and helping to create a more humane society in New York."

"We're beyond grateful that the New York legislature has passed a groundbreaking bill signaling to the abusive puppy mill industry that cruelty has no place in the Empire State, said Allie Taylor, President of Voters For Animal Rights. "This bipartisan legislation echoes the wishes of compassionate voters and sends a resounding message to commercial dog, cat and rabbit breeders that New York pet stores will no longer be an avenue for their cruelty. Thank you to Linda Rosenthal and Senator Michael Gianaris for championing this historic bill. We now call on Governor Hochul to quickly sign it into law."