Soon, it will be illegal for pet stores in New York State to sell dogs, cats, and rabbits. This is because of a law that is meant to stop the sale of animals from breeding facilities, which animal rights groups say treats animals in cruel ways.
With the bill Gov. Kathy Hochul signed on Thursday, New York will join a handful of other states, like California and Illinois, that have also banned commercial breeders, which are sometimes called puppy or kitten mills.
By making it illegal to sell animals in New York’s 80 or so pet stores, officials hope to stop the flow of animals from commercial breeders. Critics say that commercial breeders often raise animals that are abused or sick and then sell them to consumers, leaving them with unexpected veterinary bills.
“Stopping the flow of puppies from puppy mills to New York State shows that compassion has won over the evils of a cruel industry that tries to make money by abusing innocent animals,” said Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat who sponsored the bill in the lower house.
The bill caused a big fight in Albany between people who care about animal rights and people who work in pet stores.
The pet store industry fought hard against the bill, saying that it would put them out of business.
The industry said that the ban would also have unintended effects that would make it harder for people in New York to get a pet and could lead to an underground pet market.
People United to Protect Pet Integrity or PUPPI, is a group of pet store owners who said that the blanket ban would hurt responsible pet stores that sell puppies raised with care and would not do much to stop commercial breeding facilities, most of which are outside of the state.
The industry said that most commercial breeders raised pets in a humane way, but that animal rights groups were using bad actors, some of whom have been sued or investigated, to make the whole breeding sector look bad.