New York has become the latest US state to ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits from pet stores.
The new legislation is an attempt to crack down on controversial commercial breeding operations, sometimes known as “puppy mills.” Dogs sold in pet stores are often acquired from these mills.
“This is a very big deal,” said Senator Michael Gianaris in a statement. “New York tends to be a big purchaser and profiteer of these mills, and we are trying to cut off the demand at a retail level.” He added that these businesses treat puppies “like commodities.”
The new law comes into force in 2024, and every pet store will be affected. It will not, however, have an impact on private breeders.
New York follows in the footsteps of California, which introduced a similar law in 2017.
Cracking down on puppy mills
Puppy mills have long been a controversial industry. They are breeding kennels that raise dogs in often filthy and cramped conditions.
According to PETA, these mills are mostly in the midwest, but they can be found across the US. Some dealers also import puppies from abroad.
Puppies born in mills are often unhealthy. They may also struggle to socialize due to the conditions in which they were raised. This means that many are abandoned by their “owners” soon after being bought.
The cruelty of pet stores
Many investigations have shown that pet stores are often rife with cruelty. Using animals for profit has been shown to have a negative impact on their welfare.
A 2019 investigation by the Humane Society at a Petland store in Virginia found that rabbits were dying and not being given medical care.
The undercover investigator, who worked there for two months, discovered that the store did not appear to have a policy requiring veterinary care for the rabbits. One employee reportedly said “we just let them die” when they get sick.
It was also found that the rabbits were supplied by an unlicensed rabbit mill. This mill kept around 200 animals in dirty and crowded conditions.