Strengthen Pet Dealer Regulations in New York

Target: Senator Dean Skelos

Goal: Create stronger and more efficient regulations for New York’s pet dealer industry

New York has some of the strongest animal cruelty laws in the country, but one area it has failed in is its regulations for pet breeders and dealers.  This is largely because these programs are often low-priority and increasingly underfunded. Given the number of pet dealers in the state, something must be done immediately to strengthen these regulations and protect the animals.

A simple inspection of animal health certificates and shipping records reveals that pet stores in New York consistently purchase dogs and cats from breeders who have repeatedly committed significant violations of the Federal Animal Welfare Act. These dealers have somehow managed to stay in business despite repeated violations including the failure to provide care to injured animals, performing invasive surgeries without a veterinary license, and even resorting to shooting the runts in litters and other animals they do not want.

It doesn’t stop there either. The current state regulators have only licensed roughly 100 breeders in the past decade. This number should be significantly higher, meaning a number of these breeders are unlicensed and not only selling animals to the public illegally, but also without paying income taxes. An unfortunate side effect of these poor regulations is the fact that only the federal and state governments have the power to do something about it. State law explicitly prohibits municipalities from doing anything to help regulate the industry. Sadly, these towns and cities also end up footing the bill. Non-profits and local governments have to absorb the costs associated with unlicensed breeders through the eventual cruelty seizures, shelter, and legal proceedings.

Fortunately, animal welfare groups have been increasing pressure on the Department of Agriculture to introduce legislation that will give local governments the power to regulate the breeding industry. The legislation would not only reduce costs and cruelty, it would also give citizens a voice. The ASPCA hopes to see a new bill enter the House later this year. Please sign the petition below to demand that something is done immediately to better regulate pet dealers and breeders so that these animals might live lives free of cruelty and also avoid ending up in shelters.


Dear Senator Skelos,

New York is known for having some of the strongest animal cruelty laws in the country. Unfortunately, one area where it has failed miserably is in its regulation of pet dealers and breeders. In fact, the number of breeders who are licensed is decreasing every year. These breeders do not pay taxes and often force their animals to live under horrific circumstances. Many of the dogs they sell ultimately end up back in shelters.

The industry has become so poorly regulated that many of the licensed breeders have committed numerous violations of the Federal Animal Welfare Act and are still able to breed and sell animals without penalty because the industry is such a low priority. To make matters worse, federal law prohibits local governments from intervening, despite the fact that they ultimately foot the bill for these crimes and could be a valuable asset in helping regulate the industry.

I strongly encourage you to pass legislation that will allow local governments to help regulate New York’s breeding industry so that these animals will no longer have to suffer.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Raleene via Flickr

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