New York State Could Ban Sales of Dogs and Cats at Pet Stores


Lawmakers in Albany are looking to ban sales of dogs and cats from pet stores throughout New York state.

“The animals that are sold in pet stores are, for the most part, produced through puppy mills, where there are abject horrible conditions,” said New York State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, one of the sponsors of the bill.

California and Maryland have passed similar laws, and other states including Maine, are looking the same direction.

However, New York is different. This home base for the ASPCA and the American Kennel Club (AKC), each on different sides of the issue. Of course, the ASPCA supports any law that makes life more challenging for puppy mills, and simultaneously supports pet adoption. Incidentally, no one is suggesting people still can’t purchase pure bred Beagles or Golden Retrievers to Yorkshire Terriers – or whatever breed they prefer from a hobby breeder, a responsible breeder.

Still, the AKC has spent big bucks all over America, in state after state, to push back on these laws.  The AKC is actively fighting to roll back laws in cities that have already been passed to limit pet store sales.

Laws to Limit Pet Store Sales Is What the Public Wants

To date, well over 200 cities and counties in the U.S. and Canada prevent sales of dogs and cats (and in some places also rabbits) at pet stores.

Here are the municipalities that have been added to that list in 2019:

Mount Dora, FL – Enacted January 2019; effective immediately

Athens, AL – Enacted January 2019; effective immediately

Indian Harbor Beach, FL – Enacted January 2019; effective immediately

Vernon Hills, IL – Enacted February 2019; effective immediately

Medford Lakes, NJ – Enacted February 2019; effective immediately

Downers Grove, IL – Enacted March 2019; effective October 2019

Tinton Falls, NJ – Enacted March 2019; effective immediately

Carteret, NJ – Enacted March 2019; effective June 2019

In a statement, an industry group — People United to Protect Pet Integrity — say, “We know that legislation like this will put hundreds of pet stores out of business, cost the state millions of dollars in tax revenue, and potentially thousands of jobs.”

No mention of the vast majority of pet stores which survive just fine without selling any live animals, aside from maybe fish and/or reptiles and/or small mammals like hamsters and gerbils.

Where are the AKC’s Priorities? And What do They Really Care About?

Oddly, the AKC when describing where and how to purchase pure bred dogs, says you need to visit the breeder. The problem is that can’t possibly do that when buying from a pet store.

Both People United to Protect Pet Integrity or the AKC deny that puppy mills have much of anything to do with retail sales.  Yet, the AKC also says that responsible breeders never sell to pet stores. So, then are they encouraging people to purchase dogs from only irresponsible breeders?

Edie Falco

“This is Sammy, Sammy has been a part of my life eight or nine years now,” said actress Edie Falco at a New York press conference. “But the first two years of her life were spent living in a box,”  Falco and supporters of the puppy mill legislation hope the bill will change the behavior of consumers and force people into rescuing animals from shelters.

The Puppy Mill Project is the national umbrella where these local laws to limit pet store sales began.

While I am absolutely ALL FOR pet adoption, there’s nothing wrong with pure bred dogs for those who want them. This is America and that should be your choice. Sadly, it seems to me that AKC would rather support the puppy mill biz and a few chain pet stores than their own legacy constituency of hobby breeders, people who genuinely care about their dogs and breed with great love and care.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on New York State – a pivotal state. If New York passes the legislation to limit sales of dogs and cats, many other states are likely to follow. And it’s pretty clear, these laws are supported by most animal lovers – which is most of America.

If you agree and live in New York State, contact your state representative and state senator.