NY pet stores beg Hochul to veto puppy sales ban

Pet shop owners fear New York state will take a big bite out of their bottom lines if Gov. Kathy Hochul signs legislation banning their sales of dogs, cats and rabbits in order to fight animal abuse.

“Eight-five percent of our business is puppies so you make it illegal for pet stores to sell pets, how are they going to stay in business?” Emilio Ortiz, manager of Citipups in Chelsea, told The Post Wednesday.

The West Side puppy palace – where newborn pooches fetch thousands of dollars – is one of dozens of shops in the five boroughs alone that would be affected by a future ban.

State lawmakers approved that idea by big bipartisan margins last spring despite dogged efforts by pet stores and their political allies to bury the proposal.

“This bill would not shut down one single breeder. It would only make it harder for people to obtain a puppy through a transparent source,” David Boelkes, owner of The Barking Boutique in Buffalo, said Wednesday.

“We offer the addresses. We also offer cat kennel tours. So if people want to go and see the kennel themselves, they can, but again, that’s why they come to us,” he added.

Gov. Kathy Hochul is reviewing legislation that would ban pet stores from selling puppies, kittens and baby rabbits.
SOPA Images/Shutterstock

A Hochul spokeswoman said the governor is currently reviewing the legislation, which would take effect by 2024 if Hochul signs the bill before the end of the year.

Supporters say a ban – which would not apply to breeders who sell directly to New Yorkers – would shepherd people towards adopting animals from shelters rather than buying animals bred by abusive “puppy mills” like those that supplied a notorious Long Island store sued by state authorities last year.

A 2020 investigation by the Humane Society highlighted the links between 20 pet stores in New York and eight questionable breeders.

Pet store.
Supporters say a ban would shepherd people towards adopting animals from shelters rather than buying animals from “puppy mills.”
John Smith/VIEWpress

Banning pet stores from selling puppies, kittens and baby rabbits is one way New York can work around the fact that many unscrupulous breeders are located outside the Empire State, according to Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who sponsored the bill alongside fellow animal lover state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens).

“We really need to take responsibility for those that are helpless, that are voiceless, and those are the puppy mill dogs that sell for thousands of dollars in stores,” she said.

“Every major animal welfare organization supports this bill, and it’s dozens and dozens of active ones that represent hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” Rosenthal added before saying she is “optimistic” that Hochul will sign the bill into law.

Other supporters of the bill say pet stores could focus more on selling supplies rather than animals in order to make up any lost revenue.

Puppy TikTok.
TikTok videos have highlighted conditions in Citipups’ two locations amid the ongoing push to get Hochul to veto the bill.

Puppy TikTok.
“Eight-five percent of our business is puppies,” a manager of Citipups said.

Cat TikTok.
Dozens of shops in the five boroughs would be affected by a future ban.

“We’re not saying don’t go to responsible breeders. What we’re saying is where these pet stores get their puppies from are inhumane situations. Puppy mills are inhumane. They breed animals over and over and over again,” said Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation.

But doggy dealers have clawed back against suggestions that their stores could easily change their business plans while highlighting the efforts they have made to avoid buying animals from questionable sources.

TikTok videos featuring fun-loving pups are one way Ortiz has highlighted conditions in Citipups’ two locations amid the ongoing push to get Hochul to veto the bill.

Linda Rosenthal.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal is “optimistic” that Gov. Kathy Hochul will sign the bill into law.
Stefan Jeremiah
Michael Gianaris.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris co-sponsored the bill with Rosenthal.
Hans Pennink

“Everyone says ‘adopt, don’t shop’ until it’s time to get their dog – then they come to us,” he said Wednesday afternoon while customers eyed heart-melting pups vying for their attention.

Some customers said they prefer spending thousands of dollars on a puppy from a store rather than going through the process of adopting a pet from a shelter where they might have already developed physical or emotional problems.

“When you adopt, you want to save them. When you buy a dog, you are getting a fresh start,” Lexi Rosenberg, 22, an assistant planner at a marketing media agency, said while playing with male cavapoo priced at $3,000.

While that 9-week-old pup was too “bitey” for Rosenberg’s tastes, a four-month old cavapoo won over a 20-year-old NYU student named Trista, who dished out $2,495 for the pup who she named “Apricot” at the cash register.

Some pet stores have highlighted the efforts they have made to avoid buying animals from questionable sources.
Some pet stores have highlighted the efforts they have made to avoid buying animals from questionable sources.

Puppy TikTok.
“Everyone says ‘adopt, don’t shop’ until it’s time to get their dog – then they come to us,” the Citipups manager claimed.

Puppy TikTok.
Some customers said they prefer buying a puppy from a store rather than adopting a pet from a shelter where they might have already developed physical or emotional problems.

A shelter dog just wasn’t for her considering the convenience offered by checking out prospective best friends at Citipups over several weeks.

“I could have adopted, but I don’t think I’d find ‘The One’ at a shelter,” she said.

“I know it sounds terrible for me to say, but there’s health risks when you adopt. I don’t think a lot of first time dog owners are going to have the money and time to deal with all the health issues shelter dogs have,” Trista added.