WXXI AM News

Shelter manager fears ban on pet shop sales would put more animals at risk

Feb 18, 2020

Credit freeimages.com/Sue Byford

A proposed law that would ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits at pet stores doing business in New York is gaining traction in the state Legislature.

The goal is to curb large-scale breeding operations, such as so-called "puppy mills," that have been cited for overcrowding and unsanitary conditions.

But the manager of a local animal welfare group said the ban would not be a good idea and could have unintended consequences.

"I think that what you're going to see is anybody that is doing that type of care already (will) find other avenues to outlet these pets," said Dianne Faas, "and you're going to drive them further underground, and they're not going to be as open."

She said that would be worse for the animals because fewer regulators would visit those properties. 

Faas said she'd rather see New York state do a better job of enforcing the laws that already regulate breeding facilities.

"They're supposed to be inspected and under the same regulations as ourselves, the Humane Society," she said. "They're not providing the boots on the ground to inspect these places regularly nor to enforce the regulations that we already have on the books."

She said a core underlying issue is the public demand for so-called "designer" dogs.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who sponsored the proposed legislation, says a ban on pet store sales is necessary because too many of New York's pet shops rely on poorly regulated, out-of-state puppy mills.

Click on the LISTEN link above to hear an interview with Faas.