NEW YORK (PIX11) — Adopt, don’t shop, New York State officials said Thursday.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed a bill banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in New York pet stores into law. New York will be the sixth state to ban the sale of these furry friends in pet stores, joining California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland and Washington.

“Dogs, cats and rabbits across New York deserve loving homes and humane treatment,” Gov. Hochul said. “I’m proud to sign this legislation, which will make meaningful steps to cut down on harsh treatment and protect the welfare of animals across the state.”

The bill was passed in June and sponsored by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. The goal of this bill being signed into law is to strive to stop people from purchasing and selling animals from large-scale, cruel breeders who fail to provide them with necessary veterinary care, food, or socialization.

“Shutting down the abhorrent puppy mill pipeline that has long funneled sick and dying animals to New York State pet stores will go a long way in shutting down puppy mills nationwide,” Assemblymember Rosenthal said. “Animals endure horrific abuse inside these cruel breeding factories, producing offspring that are genetically damaged and chronically ill. The signing of this law sends a message that New York State will prioritize the humane treatment of animals over the financial interests of a barbaric industry that inflicts pain on animals and consumers alike.”

The law will take effect in 2024, and it will allow pet stores to rent out their space for adoption, and breeders will still be able to sell pets directly to consumers. Although a coalition of pet store owners is not happy with the new law, claiming this law will put pet stores out of business and force the layoffs of over 1,500 pet store employees.

Assemblymember Rosenthal’s office counters that argument and said many of the pet stores in the country are moving away from selling animals into a more humane business model, gaining profit from food, grooming, toys and other pet supplies.

In a statement on behalf of pet store owners, People United to Protect Pet Integrity President Jessica Selmer said the following:

Disappointed just doesn’t cover it. We had hoped the Governor would see through the charade and recognize that this bill is careless, dangerous, and counterproductive to its purpose – but apparently, those hopes were too high.

(Today) 35 percent of all online scams are pet buying scams, and violent dog theft is up 40 percent…This bill will fail to shut down out-of-state breeders or legally increase their standards of care. 1500+ people will lose their jobs, 80 small businesses will close, and pets will become harder for New Yorkers to get, all while bad breeders will continue to profit. By ending licensed and regulated local pet stores, New York State is effectively removing the people who vet breeders, ensuring the health of newly homed pets with established veterinarians, and guarantee the success of a new pet family.  

We are deeply disappointed and frustrated today, but we do hope that the Governor will consider legislative remedies to some of the pitfalls of this bill, and through chapter, amendments allow the good people who have supported the pet store industry to find a path forward in the wake of this heartbreaking moment.