NYS Pet Store Reform Act could force big changes to pet stores

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Lawmakers are trying to get a ban on the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits from New York pet stores passed in an attempt to prevent the sale of animals from mills. The proposed legislation could force some local pet stores to drastically change how they do business.

New York State Animal Protection Federation Executive Director, Libby Post, said the law will force pet stores to reevaluate their business models in order to grow with market demands. She said the market is quickly changing and that most New Yorkers are turning away from purchasing animals at pet stores in favor of adoption. She also said only a small fraction of the billion-dollar industry is made from animals sold.

Post said the law would allow pet stores to reinvent themselves and promote a more humane business model. She said pet stores should focus on selling pet supplies because that’s where a majority of pet industry money comes from. “This is a market issue,” she said. “They need to adjust like any other business.”

Statistical data from the American Pet Products Association supports Post’s claim about where people are spending their money in the pet industry. In 2018, out of the $72.6 billion American pet owners spent $30.3 billion was on food, $16 billion on supplies/OTC medicine, $18.1 billion on vet care and $6.1 billion on other services. A paltry $2 billion was spent on live animal purchases. Estimates for 2019 put money spent on live animal purchases down to $1.97 billion.

“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for puppy mills that abuse animals to supply pet stores. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities,” said one of the legislation’s co-sponsors, Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “I am pleased this important legislation moved out of committee and continues to build momentum with many of my Senate colleagues,” he said.

The bill has the support of 17 Senate co-sponsors and more than 125 animal welfare organizations including The Humane Society of the United States, Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, Out of the Pits, New York State Animal Protection Federation and Whiskers Animal Benevolent League.

News10 ABC reached out to a couple local pet stores but did not receive a response.

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