Pet stores often serve as fronts for puppy mills, which mistreat the animals they care for, denying them the most basic needs like food, water and medical care. Photo by Michelle Riley / The HSUS
New York has the dubious distinction of being home to more pet stores selling puppies than any other state in the country. That could be about to change as lawmakers pass legislation banning all sales of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores.
Bills have already been introduced in the State Assembly and Senate (S.1130 / A.4283), and we have reason to be optimistic as a similar bill has been passed by the entire Senate last year. Should this become law, New York residents would still be free to bring home a pet from a shelter or responsible shelter or breeders they have met in person. Responsible breeders do not sell to pet stores or to people they have not met. The New York bill would also allow retail stores to make shelters available to showcase adoptable pets.
Pet stores often serve as fronts for puppy mills, which mistreat the animals they care for, denying them the most basic needs like food, water and medical care. The suffering is further exacerbated once the animals are in the stores. While undercover at a posh Manhattan pet store in 2017, our investigator found a “back room” full of sick puppies. The puppies were delivered en masse from known puppy mill conditions and buyers were misled about the health of the puppies. Among the sick dogs our hidden camera documented were a French Bulldog puppy who lost a quarter of their body weight, a Pomeranian with an eye infection so advanced that his eyes were crusted shut, and an English Bulldog with a pneumonia so severe that the animal was struggling. to breathe.
The store, Chelsea Kennel Club, closed soon after and last year a Manhattan Supreme Court judge fined the owner $ 3.9 million for not getting necessary veterinary care. for puppies and misleading the public about their health.
Our eight surveys of Petland, the only national chain of pet stores that still sell puppies, over the past three years have revealed similar issues.
Fortunately, our efforts to cut the pipeline to puppy mills and pet stores have led three states – California, Maryland, and Maine – to pass legislation to end these sales in recent years. In Washington state, a bill has been introduced that would ban other pet stores from selling puppies and force a handful of stores that now sell dogs to comply with increased transparency requirements. Bills banning the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores have also been introduced in Florida, Indiana and Kentucky.
Plus, more than 375 cities have passed ordinances banning the sale of puppies in pet stores, and more are joining every week, with San Antonio, TX, Madison, Alabama, and Port St Lucie, Florida among the latest additions. Lawmakers in Arizona and Connecticut have introduced bills that would ensure that localities have the power to regulate pet stores. This has become necessary because in some states, lobbyists with generous pockets, including Petland, have pushed back on preemptive bills designed to prevent localities from passing laws ending the sale of puppies in pet stores. We have already blocked the progress of many bills of this type in recent years, and we are delighted to see lawmakers taking proactive steps to stop these efforts.
Ending dog sales in pet stores is essential if we are to end America’s huge puppy mill problem. The bitches in these mass breeding operations spend their entire lives locked in wire cages with wire floors. Their feet never touch the grass and they never receive a kind touch or an enrichment. It is cruelty, plain and simple, and it should not be allowed to exist. This is why we are fighting puppy mills on so many fronts, helping to pass laws, bringing offenders to justice, conducting secret investigations and raising public awareness. This is a long and difficult fight, and we are heartened that lawmakers in states like New York, Washington and others are joining us in licking the puppy mill problem for good.
Pets, Public Policy (Legal / Legislative)