New York lawmakers advance puppy mill bill in bid to stop flow of animals to the state
Lawmakers in Albany have advanced a bill that will help shut down the puppy mill pipeline in New York, ending the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores across the state.
Under the bill, pet stores would still be allowed to sell smaller animals, such as fish, along with pet food and supplies.
The aim is to stop the flow of animals into our state that come from so-called puppy mills. They’re facilities, mainly in the Midwest, that have been described as wholesale breeders. Bill Ketzer, of the ASPCA, described them as “factories” that often have deplorable conditions and are only loosely regulated.
“They're in the business of mass producing puppies,” he says. “So what they have is a couple hundred breeding dogs. They live their entire lives typically in a crate that's not more than 6 inches away from any part of their body.”
Jessica Selmer is the third-generation owner of Selmer’s Pet Land in South Huntington, which was started by her grandfather started in 1939. She says if “the bill did what it purports to, I’d support it.”
She argues the law would force most pet stores to close, even ones that use reputable breeders – and would likely boost the number of puppy mills who would start selling dogs directly to people online.
“They go straight to the internet, there's no oversight, there's regulations, there's no inspections and they deem themselves as breeders which is a vague, undefined term,” she told News 12.
Supporters of the bill say it would encourage people to adopt shelter dogs and don't think it will force pet stores to close.
“I would say to the pet store owners – look at the stores in California because they're doing fine,” said state Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore). “They're partnering with shelters and showing animals that need to be rescued. They're also selling pet food, pet treats, they're grooming, they're boarding. There's a lot of other things that go along with owning a dog or a cat.”
The ASPCA says there's about 80 pet stores in New York that still sell dogs and cats.