NEW YORK — With roughly 15,000 animals housed in shelters across New York City, the Big Apple has one of the largest animal shelter populations in the country.
An estimated 4,000 animals are euthanized citywide each year due to overcrowding, which experts say is precipitated by puppy mills and back yard breeders.
It’s a cycle of abuse pet welfare organizations like Bideawee know all too well about.
“Whether it’s animals that we’re rescuing from a municipal shelter that have been dropped off because of some medical condition,” explained President and CEO of Bideawee Leslie Granger.
“Or really, it’s people going to pet stores instead of a local animal welfare organization or shelter.”
Councilman Justin Brannan is taking matters into his own hands and will soon introduce legislation that will crack down on so-called puppy mills and kitten factories, forcing pet stores across the 5 boroughs to sell only cats and dogs from city shelters or rescue groups.
“It’s really about making New York City a more humane city,” he told PIX11 News.
“The fact that anybody is buying an animal when you got thousands and thousands of animals that are basically free and up for adoption is crazy.”
California recently became the first state to ban the sale of puppy mill pets.
A similar statewide measure was introduced in New York in February but it hasn’t seen any movement in the State Senate.
“There’s no reason why we should wait,” Brannan said. “We should try to get this done now as soon as we can because these animals can’t wait.”
Despite having support among many within the animal welfare community, organizations like the American Kennel Club isn’t quite sold on the legislation.
The organization told PIX11 in a statement :
While it doesn’t comment on legislation that it hasn’t had an opportunity to review, AKC strongly opposes any measure that restricts choice by compelling people and retailers to obtain pets solely from shelter or rescue distributors.
Councilman Brannan is expected to introduce the legislation by the end of the Fall.
He said he believes the bill has enough support to pass.