A new law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul will ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in New York pet stores.
The legislation will take effect in December 2024 and is an attempt to crack down on puppy mills and abusive commercial breeders. Other states, such as California and Maryland, have previously implemented bans against retail pet sales.
While prohibiting the sale of pets, the law will allow pet stores to rent out space to shelters and display animals which are up for adoption. Violators of the ban will face penalties up to $1,000.
“I’m proud to sign this legislation, which will make meaningful steps to cut down on harsh treatment and protect the welfare of animals across the state,” said Hochul in a statement.
However, the pet store industry argues that the ban will harm responsible store owners and have little effect on commercial breeders. “By ending licensed and regulated local pet stores, you will remove the people who vet breeders, insure the health of newly homed pets with established veterinarians, and guarantee the success of a new pet family,” said Jessica Selmer, president of PUPPI, a coalition of New York pet store owners, in a statement to the New York Times.
New York City may see further prohibitions on pets in the future. A proposed City Council bill is looking to ban the sale of guinea pigs, after record numbers of the rodents were abandoned in shelters following a surge in sales during the pandemic.