Falco, a respected actress and proud parent of a rescue dog named Sami, has been recognized by the ASPCA for her work to protect animals and end the abuses at puppy mills.
The legislation will allow pet stores to make space available to shelters and rescues to feature animals that are available for adoption.
“We must end the pet mill-to-pet store pipeline,” said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan. ““Shelters and rescues statewide are bursting at the seams with healthy animals in need of homes, there is no reason for New Yorkers to spend thousands on ailment-ridden pets.”
Many of the animals available for sale in pet stores across the country and in New York come from dog, cat and bunny mills.
According to supporters of the bill, the animals in the mills are locked in filthy cages that are too small, do not have regular access to food or clean water, and are denied routine medical care.
They are also bred repeatedly, forced to churn out litter after litter for profit.
Meanwhile, the offspring from mill animals are often saddled with a host of congenital issues. Unsuspecting customers take them home and fall in love with them only to find that they are sick and in need of expensive veterinary care.
“With so many good animals in need of homes, there is no need for puppy mills to supply pet stores,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris of Astoria. “Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities."
According to the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, there are 80 pet stores registered to do business throughout the state, and New York State ranks at the top of the list of states with the most pet stores in the country.
Commercial pet breeders and stores are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). For years, advocates have pushed the USDA for a more robust inspection and enforcement regime.
Instead, a recent investigation by the Humane Society of the United States revealed that under the Trump administration, USDA inspectors documented an astounding 60 percent fewer violations at facilities that house animals in 2018 in comparison to 2017.
In addition, the USDA is issuing fewer serious violations that would ordinarily trigger swift follow-up action by the agency.
“These badly-regulated commercial dog breeders have only one goal: breed the highest volume of puppies possible at the lowest cost for the retailer,” said Bill Ketzer, senior director of state legislation for the ASPCA. “In turn, pet stores do everything in their power to sell these dogs, conveniently excluding well-documented health and behavior risks.”