A few months ago the New York State House and Senate voted to approve the shutdown of the puppy-mill-to-New York pipeline, ending the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores across the state. The bills await the governor’s signature. They have taken an inordinately long time to reach Hochul, having been first introduced in March, 2019.
Among the relentless fighters for this shutdown is our own Stacie Haynes, Executive Director of the Susquehanna SPCA.
As Board President of the New York State Animal Protection Federation as well, Haynes was instrumental in the passage in June of the Companion Animal Care Standards Act for Shelters and Rescues, which raises the standards of care for animals in shelters and rescues and ensures the licensing of all organizations caring for homeless animals.
The puppy mill legislation would allow pet shop owners to invite animal shelters and rescue organizations to offer their homeless dogs and cats for adoption, effectively closing out the potential sales of puppy-mill animals that have been brought into the state from elsewhere in the country.
Puppy mills, also known as puppy farms, are breeding operations that put profit over the health and well-being of the animals. The mills may be large or small, licensed or unlicensed. They have become vastly productive and profitable industries during the last few decades, and more so recently as many COVID-isolated individuals and families have reached out for a pet to soothe their troubled home-bound souls.
It is estimated that there are at least 10,000 puppy mills today in the United States, mostly located in the Midwest (Missouri, Ohio and Iowa are at the top of the Humane Society’s Horrible Hundred). They sell an estimated 2.6 million puppies annually. Fewer than 3,000 mills are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Although to sell to a pet store a mill must be licensed, there has been very little government oversight.
There are currently 167,388 breeding dogs living in the Department of Agriculture-licensed commercial facilities. They spend their entire lives in confinement, in inconsistently cleaned cages, with little or no protection from heat or cold, little clean water and little or no veterinary care. (It is legal, alas, for a breeding dog to spend her entire life in a cage.)
They do not go outside; they have no human contact but for the hand that snatches away the puppies. Females are bred every heat cycle, and euthanized, often inhumanely, when they can no longer produce a litter. The puppies, whose health and behavior can be questionable, are shipped to pet stores throughout the United States. A great many of them end up on the puppy-mill pipeline to New York, where they are sold for the highest price possible.
When you buy a puppy in a pet store, it does not save that puppy. It perpetuates a cycle of cruelty and supports this insipid industry. Think first before you buy. .