ALBANY – Pet store representatives are harassing lawmakers calling for a ban on the sale of dogs and felines in stores, arguing the proposal would deprive consumers of choice while stimulating unregulated breeders.
So far, only California and Maryland have banned the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores, although Maine is now considering doing the same.
Supporters of the legislation say it would crush a pipeline that would keep pet stores stocked with dogs from “puppy mills.” The measure, they say, would also encourage pet stores to welcome adoptions of dogs, cats and rabbits run by non-profit animal shelters while preventing these animals from being treated as if they were commodities. .
But David Jacoby, owner of Citipups pet stores in Manhattan for 30 years, said the move would hamper consumers’ ability to acquire the kind of animals they want.
Jacoby also said State Senator Michael Gianaris, D-Queens, one of the main sponsors of the proposed ban, twisted the potential consequences of the bill by saying that pet stops could still profit from the sale of food, treats and accessories often purchased by pet owners.
“We would be gone in a week,” said Jacoby. He said that while consumers can indeed source various supplies in stores, this activity has declined with the explosive growth in sales from Amazon and other online retailers.
“Who is going to pay my rent if they bring shelter dogs to my store?” Jacoby said. A lot of people who buy dogs “don’t want a dog that is two to seven years old, and they don’t know where it’s coming from.”
Libby Post, director of the New York State Federation for the Protection of Animals, said shelters are ready to help pet stores run adoption events.
The legislation is also supported by the Humane Society of the United States. More than 300 city governments across the country have already enacted local bans on the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores.
Opponents include the American Kennel Club, which maintains pet stores are well controlled and contends that the measure ignores the problem of “irresponsible” animal distributors.
The bill’s sponsor by the Assembly, Congresswoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, was successful last year when her proposal to ban declawing cats was enacted. Rosenthal said the Assembly is increasingly supporting the proposal to ban the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits in pet stores.
Pet industry-backed group People United to Protect Pet Integrity (PUPPI) said acquiring pets in shelters “carries more risk and uncertainty than people can be there. prepared or aware of it “. PUPPI cited cases of rescue dogs maiming family members who offered to save the animals.
In an unrelated event, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the legislation, as described by a reporter, “seems a bit silly”. A Cuomo aide then clarified the remark, saying Cuomo, a dog owner who acquired his pet from a breeder, did not know the details.
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said the governor will review any proposals that promote the welfare of pets.
Referring to the governor’s canine best friend by name, Azzopardi joked, “We will review this legislation in consultation with the state’s leading kibble and chew toy advocate, Captain.”
Joe Mahoney covers the New York Statehouse for CNHI newspapers and websites. Contact him at [email protected]