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Op-Ed | Governor Hochul can protect thousands of animals by signing the puppy mill pipeline bill

Little puppies in the
Photo via Getty Images

Puppy mills make money by breeding dogs over and over in cruel conditions and selling huge numbers of puppies to pet stores. New York State has one of the country’s highest concentrations of puppy-selling pet stores, making it one of the puppy mill industry’s largest markets. This keeps the cruel puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline active and profitable year after year.

A recent ASPCA report reveals that almost half of the puppies shipped to New York pet stores arrive by truck from Missouri, which has the highest concentration of puppy mills in the U.S. These puppies are shipped from puppy mills via a pipeline of middlemen to New York pet stores, where they are deceptively marketed as healthy puppies from responsible breeders. It’s a cruel and broken system made possible because selling cruelly bred dogs and cats in New York pet stores is still legal.

However, Gov. Kathy Hochul now has an opportunity to shut down this pipeline by enacting the NY Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill (S.1130) to end the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in state pet stores. This bill easily passed the Assembly and Senate by large bipartisan majorities, and only awaits approval by Gov. Hochul. With the Governor’s signature, New York would join other states with similar humane laws.

The urgency couldn’t be higher. Last year, the ASPCA helped rescue more than 500 dogs from horrific conditions at multiple Iowa properties operated by Daniel Gingerich, a USDA-licensed breeder. Despite having close to 150 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) documented at his facilities, he continued to breed and sell animals to pet stores, with New York State pet stores being eager clients. Public documents show that more than a third of New York’s puppy-selling pet stores—including stores in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester, and Long Island—imported puppies from Gingerich. 

The Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill, sponsored by Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), received broad bipartisan political support and is supported by local and national animal welfare groups, including the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, the New York State Animal Protection Federation, Voters For Animal Rights, the Companion Animal Protection Society, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the NYC Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee.

It’s imperative that Governor Hochul stop pet stores from being accomplices to animal cruelty, and your support will help. If you live in New York, please join us in asking her to sign the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill into law to protect vulnerable animals and reinforce New York’s integrity as a state that values compassion and humanity. 

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