NY Bill Proposes Banning Retail Sales of Dogs, Cats, Rabbits

retail sales pets
(Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via AP)

New York could ban retail pet shops from selling dogs, cats or rabbits as soon as mid-2021 under a Democratic state senator’s bill.

The state would join Maryland and California and hundreds of municipalities nationwide that have taken a stand to outlaw sales of those pets, Deputy Senate Leader Mike Gianaris said Monday.

Supporters including The Humane Society of the United States and the New York State Animal Protection Federation say the vast majority of New York pet stores already don’t sell cats, dogs or rabbits. But Libby Post, the executive director of the federation, says the proposal is an “opportunity for pet stores to rebrand themselves as compassionate businesses that put puppies over profits.”

The legislation would impact an estimated 80 pet retail stores largely located in New York City and Long Island that have registered with the state.

New Yorkers could still buy cats, dogs and rabbits directly from breeders. Pet stores could face penalties for violating the law, which also allows shops to work with animal shelters or rescue groups to offer animals for adoption. The bill would become effective a year after it’s signed into law.

A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his office is interested in any proposal that would better protect pets. The governor last year signed into law the nation’s first ban on declawing cats.

“We’ll review this legislation in consultation with the state’s top kibble and chew toy advocate, Captain,” said senior advisor Richard Azzopardi, referring to Democrat Cuomo’s two-year-old gray and white Northern Inuit dog.