Best Friends Animal Society Congratulates Gov. Hochul for Signing, and NY State Legislature for Passing, Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill

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December 15, 2022 (Kanab, UT) -- Best Friends Animal Society, the leading national animal organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters by 2025, congratulates New York State for becoming the sixth state in the nation to enact a humane pet sales law. Best Friends thanks Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris for sponsoring the legislation, known as the Puppy Mill Pipeline Act, the legislature for bipartisan support in passing it, and Gov. Hochul for her signature. The new law prevents pet stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits, taking effect in a year. It allows pet stores to work with shelters and rescue groups to showcase homeless pets for adoption. The bill passed in June and was signed by Gov. Hochul today. 

"We are extremely grateful to Assembly member Rosenthal and Senate Deputy Leader Gianaris for sponsoring this lifesaving legislation and to all of the elected officials, advocates, shelters, rescue groups and organizations that worked together to ensure its passage. We commend Governor Hochul for adding her signature, making New York a more humane state for people and pets,” said Elizabeth Oreck, National Manager, Puppy Mill Initiatives, Best Friends Animal Society. 

Most puppies, kittens and rabbits sold by pet stores come from inhumane commercial breeding mills. As an organization whose mission it is to end the killing of pets in shelters, Best Friends encourages people looking for a pet to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, rather than buying from a pet store, breeder or online retailer. Adopting saves lives, while buying nearly always supports the puppy mill industry by creating demand.  

As awareness of the connection between puppy mills and puppies sold for profit continues to grow, more and more communities are banning the sale of mill-bred pets in stores. New York State joins five other states (California, Maryland, Maine, Washington and Illinois) and more than 450 municipalities across North America that have enacted laws that prohibit the retail sale of animals from breeding mills.  

Puppy mills are commercial dog breeding facilities where profit takes priority over the health and welfare of the animals. Parent dogs spend their lives in small, dirty, stacked, wire-bottomed cages, often in the minimum legal size allowed (only six inches larger than the dog on all sides) and female dogs are bred as frequently as possible. Most puppy mill dogs have inadequate medical care and human socialization. Studies have shown that the poor conditions and high-stress environment into which the puppies are born can have a lifelong impact on their physical and emotional health and behavior.   

New York pet stores will be able to help save the lives of pets from shelters and rescue groups, which is vital, as many shelters are at or over capacity.  

In 2021, 355,000 dogs and cats were killed in U.S. shelters, up from 347,000 in 2020. This is the first time in five years the number of dogs and cats killed in the U.S. has increased. Puppy mills are directly contributing to these numbers by creating and selling new pets, many who also end up in the shelter system.  

Best Friends Animal Society has the most comprehensive, accurate annual dataset for sheltered dogs and cats in the United States, with 80% of all shelters reporting data, representing an estimated 94% of all sheltered dogs and cats in the country.   

Around the time Best Friends opened in 1984, U.S. shelters were killing 17 million dogs and cats every year. That figure has since fallen to about 355,000, according to Best Friends 2021 dataset. Sadly, in 2021 the number of dogs and cats killed in U.S. shelters increased for the first time in five years, up 8,000 animals from 347,000 in 2020. 

About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 355,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 4,000 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org