I rarely use my blog to speak about legislation, politics, or potentially controversial issues, but today, we are on the precipice of history. As I write this, New York is slated to become the third state in the country (California and Maryland are there already) to curb the sale of puppies in pet stores. New York State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal have introduced legislation (A.6298/S.4234) that would prohibit the sale of cats, dogs, and rabbits in pet stores across the state and I want to rally supporters and animal lovers like you to stand with me and let your voices be heard. For the sake of the lives of so many puppy mill victims, let’s get this passed.
I think it was around 2005 that I met a terrific couple while working for another animal welfare organization. They were interested in becoming involved specifically to educate people about the consequences of purchasing a pet from a store. Their pup had experienced so many horrendous medical issues as a result of being overbred and kept in horrendous conditions at a puppy mill. At the time of their purchase, they were unsuspecting, and had only seen the sad puppy dog eyes in the store window. They didn’t know where the pup had come from, what the risks were of taking that dog home, and what conditions that pup’s parents lived in. They simply didn’t know and didn’t think to ask. But today they know better, and they made it their mission to make sure that others know too. And 14 years after that initial meeting, I’m going to be thrilled to reach out to them and let them know that there is finally legislation to ensure that no other young couple unknowingly supports a puppy mill by purchasing a pet from a store.
Pups from pet stores, unlike those that are bred responsibly, come from large facilities that keep the dogs in dirty, small, wire cages where they are treated as nothing more than breeding machines. They never feel the grass under their feet, the sun on their backs, or what being loved is all about. By now, I’m sure many of you know how filthy the conditions are, how terrified these dogs can be of humans, and how matted and sickly they get. On any given day, there are more than 2,000 pets for sale in pet stores across the state. This must stop. And now is our chance to be third in line to do just that.
This legislation will prohibit the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores, but it would allow these stores to offer adoptable animals from 501 c 3 shelters and animal rescues. As Assemblywoman Rosenthal states, “by ensuring that pet stores can offer only rescues for adoption, this legislation will protect consumers, help to shut down the mills and end the puppy-to-pet store pipeline.” A win-win for animals, rescue groups, pet-parents, and all those who care about the health and well-being of our four-legged friends. It may have taken more than a decade since we began this fight, but we are on the dawn of a new era for companion animals, and I hope you will join me in supporting this legislation by contacting your legislator in support of S. 4234/A.6298. And as always, adopt, don’t shop.