New York State Bans Sales Dogs, Cats, Rabbits


New York State is now the sixth state in the U.S. to ban sales of dogs and cats at retail pet stores. This is arguably the most important state to pass a bill to halt the puppy mill pipeline, because this is the home state of the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The AKC has spent thousands or perhaps millions of dollars opposing these bans for several years in many states and cities, and has overwhelmingly been unsuccessful. Now, the AKC has failed in their home state, despite their intense political push.

Of course, no responsible breeder – the types of breeders the AKC is supposed to support – ever sells to pet stores who source their animals from large mass providers, including puppy mills.

The bill is not a done deal, however, until Gov. Kathy Hochul signs, which she is expected to do. However, there is likely going to be desperate last-minute wrangling by the AKC and other opponents.

The ban on pet stores sales of dogs and cats (and in New York State, also rabbits) doesn’t deter legitimate shelters or rescues from adoption (even at pet stores) or responsible breeders of purebred dogs (the breeders you’d think the AKC would support). And the law doesn’t impact hobby cat or rabbit breeders.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan).

About 80 retail pet shops would be affected state-wide. Some previously warned such a law would put them out of business while doing nothing to curb breeders that cage animals in basements with no access to veterinary care because they will shift to sell animals online.

True enough, something has to be done to deal with online sales from bad players but there’s no indication that those online sales surge when statewide bans go into effect. In fact, in California, following their state-wide ban of dog and cat sales at pet stores – by all accounts shelter adoptions went up.

The other states banning sales of dogs and cats at pet stores are Illinois, Maine, Maryland and Washington, as well as over 400 cities, and several counties. Other states are considering similar laws, including Pennsylvania (still the home to many puppy mills), Florida, New Jersey and Texas.

New York Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced the State Senate passed his legislation (S.1130/A.4283) banning the retail sale of animals in pet stores: