ALBANY – New York appears to be moving closer to banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits at retail pet stores.
The state Legislature’s agriculture committees passed the measure this week, moving it toward getting the full chambers’ approval after years of stalling at the state Capitol.
The law would end so-called puppy mills and instead put a focus on saving rescue animals.
“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for puppy mills that abuse animals to supply pet stores. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities,” Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, D-Queens, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement.
Animal-rights groups have long pushed for the law, saying dogs, cats and rabbits sold at retail shops can be mistreated and are loosely regulated by the federal government.
Offspring of mill animals often have congenital issues resulting from poor breeding, which can cost families thousands of dollars in veterinary care, the bill’s sponsors said.
The state Department of Agriculture and Markets, which oversees pet dealers, estimates there are about 80 pet stores registered in New York.
“Despite all regulations, the vast majority of animals for sale in pet stores still come from puppy mills, which are places of unimaginable cruelty,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement.
The bill has been lingering in Albany for years, even as lawmakers have taken a variety of…