Committee Reports

Support for NYS Ban on Pet Shop Animal Sales: Report


The Animal Law Committee issued a report in support of amendments to New York State’s agriculture and markets law and general business law that would ban pet shop sales of puppies, kittens and rabbits. If enacted, New York would  join over 300 cities, local governments and states across the country that have enacted pet store animal sales bans. Specifically, the proposal aims to curb sales of animals produced in large-scale commercial breeding facilities — commonly known as “puppy mills” and kitten and rabbit factories — that mass-produce animals with little regard for animal welfare. As stated in the report: “The United States has at least 10,000 puppy mills, which collectively produce 2.4 million puppies annually,” and “[t]he vast majority (approximately 90%) of all pet store companion animals come from mills and factories.” Animal mills and factories have generally been regulated in two ways: by regulating the mills and factories themselves, an approach which the federal government has taken; and by attempting to regulate the distributors, particularly pet stores. Neither has been effective in reducing or eliminating the problems at many commercial breeding facilities, which include overcrowding and unsanitary conditions, lack of adequate food, water, socialization, and veterinary care, and inadequate protection from the cold or heat. The report notes that pet stores across the country are updating their business models, no longer selling animals from commercial breeding facilities and instead offering pets for adoption and focusing sales on pet-related products and services, like grooming and boarding.

Originally issued December 2019; Reissued March 2021


Help Combat Cruel Commercial Companion Animal Breeding – Overview Handout

Letter to Governor Hochul Urging Her to Sign the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill – October 18, 2022


A.4283 (AM L. Rosenthal) / S.1130 (Sen. Gianaris)Prohibits the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits by retail pet shops; authorizes space for adoption (NYS 2021); A.6298-A/S.4234-A (NYS 2019-2020)


Signed by the Governor, Chp. 681, Approval Memo 40 – December 15, 2022



A.4283 (M. of A. L. Rosenthal)
S.1130 (Sen. Gianaris)

AN ACT to amend the Agriculture and Markets Law and the General Business Law, in relation to the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits.



The proposed legislation (A.4283/S.1130)[1] would prohibit retail pet shops[2] from selling, offering to sell, leasing, offering to lease, bartering, auctioning, or otherwise transferring ownership of any dog, cat, or rabbit.[3] Each violation would be subject to a penalty of $100-$1000.[4] In addition, the bill allows the Commissioner of Agriculture to deny or revoke non-profit registration to any applicant or registrant previously licensed as a pet dealer.[5] The bill further allows the Commissioner of Agriculture to make available to police agencies and officers and district attorneys information regarding this ban on pet shop sales.[6]

The proposed legislation would enable New York to join the hundreds of jurisdictions across the country that have already enacted pet store dog, cat, and/or rabbit sales bans; as of February 2021, more than 350 cities, local governments, and states across the country have enacted pet store animal sales bans.


Puppy mills and kitten and rabbit factories are large-scale commercial breeding facilities that mass-produce animals for sale with little regard for animal welfare, primarily through retail pet stores.[7] The United States has at least 10,000 puppy mills, which collectively produce 2.6 million puppies annually.[8] The vast majority (approximately 90%) of all pet store companion animals come from mills and factories.[9] In USDA-licensed facilities alone, over 200,000 dogs are kept solely for breeding purposes.[10]

With over 80 puppy-selling pet stores, New York State has one of the highest numbers of such pet stores in the country.[11] These stores, like most pet stores across the nation, secure a vast majority of their inventory from puppy mills.[12] In addition, New York State has a significant number of puppy mills, many of which have been cited for repeated Animal Welfare Act violations.[13]

Animal mills and factories have generally been regulated in two ways: by regulating the mills and factories themselves, an approach which the federal government has taken but which has not been effective; and by attempting to regulate the distributors, particularly pet stores, that serve as middle-men between the mills and the public.[14] The proposed legislation addresses the intractable problem of puppy mills and kitten and rabbit factories more directly: by eliminating retail pet shops as a primary source of sales. This legislation would protect animals where federal and state regulation and enforcement have been ineffective (see Sections III. D and E below). The federal standards of care for commercially bred, dogs, cats, and rabbits are nominal and have been deemed deficient by major veterinary organizations. In addition, the federal government has failed to enforce these low standards. To further exacerbate matters, USDA enforcement declined significantly under the Trump administration. Current New York State and New York City laws are also insufficient to protect animal welfare.


The New York City Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee supports the proposed legislation because it (i) eliminates a primary source of sales for puppy mills and kitten and rabbit factories, which in turn benefits animals, the environment, and the public; (ii) promotes animal adoption and reduces euthanasia of homeless animals; (iii) protects consumers; (iv) protects animals where federal regulation and enforcement have been ineffective; and (v) is necessary because New York State does not effectively regulate puppy mills. Notably, hundreds of U.S. jurisdictions have already banned pet store animal sales.

a. The Bill Eliminates a Primary Source of Sales for Puppy Mills and Kitten and Rabbit Factories — Which Benefits Animals, the Environment, and the Public.

i. Animals in mills and factories suffer inhumane conditions.

Commercial breeding facilities treat companion animals like commodities, prioritizing profits over the animals’ wellbeing.[15] These facilities regularly house animals in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate food, water, socialization, and/or veterinary care.[16] USDA inspection reports contain numerous violations for ill animals that received no veterinary care.[17] Companion animals in mills also often do not receive nutritious and adequate food and are regularly malnourished.[18] In many cases they lack regular access to clean water.[19] Companion animals in mills often live in unsanitary conditions with urine- and feces-saturated pens, rusty cages and those otherwise in disrepair, filthy feeders caked with hair and dirt, noxious odors of ammonia/urine and feces, and vermin and rodent infestations.[20] Many do not receive adequate protection from the cold or heat.[21]

Breeding dogs in particular can spend their entire lives in cramped cages with little to no personal attention.[22] And when dogs can no longer breed, they are abandoned or killed.[23]

ii. Animals in mills and factories suffer health and behavioral problems.

As a result of these inhumane conditions, the physical, behavioral, and psychological needs of the dogs, cats, and rabbits are not met sufficiently to provide a reasonably decent quality of life for the animals.[24] Mill and factory animals often suffer from an array of health and behavioral problems including communicable diseases, behavioral issues, and genetic disorders due to overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, lack of preventative veterinary care, and breeding practices.[25] Conditions common to puppy mills — like the use of stacked, wire cages to house the maximum number of animals and continual exposure to feces and urine of other animals — cause frequent parasites and increased risk of infectious diseases.[26] In addition, a lack of regular veterinary care, basic grooming, and clean food and water often cause injuries and infections to fester until they become severe. These disorders cause undue suffering and often result in premature death and shortened life span for the animals.[27]

Dogs from puppy mills also suffer from extensive behavioral issues and receive significantly worse behavioral and medical scores than dogs from other sources.[28] A review of seven published studies on dogs born in high-volume commercial breeding establishments revealed an increased incidence of behavioral and emotional problems compared with dogs from noncommercial breeders.[29] A study published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine similarly concluded that obtaining dogs from pet stores represented a significant risk factor for the development of a wide range of undesirable behavioral characteristics, especially aggressive behavior.[30] The most consistent finding among studies is that early life stimulus deprivation and inadequate housing, handling, and raising practices cause an increase in aggression, separation anxiety, and sensitivity to touch.[31]

Breeding dogs particularly suffer from serious psychological and behavioral issues due to prolonged confinement to cages and deprivation, including minimal to no human interaction.[32] After removal from canine commercial breeding establishments, former breeding dogs display persistent behavioral and psychological abnormalities, including extreme fears and phobias, compulsive and repetitive behavior, learning deficits and lower trainability, high sensitivity to noises in their surroundings, higher rates of house-soiling, and difficulty coping with normal existence.[33]

Like dogs, rabbits from rabbit factories suffer from similar health and behavioral issues due to inadequate care in mills and pet stores.[34] Such rabbits are particularly prone to illness, disease, and death due to lack of necessary specialized care in factories, early weaning at 3-4 weeks (and resulting underdeveloped immune systems), lack of quarantine procedures, and inadequate housing and veterinary care.[35] Similarly too, cats bred in kitten factories suffer from behavioral issues, including aggressive behavior due to minimal human interaction, litter box problems due to lack of basic litter box training, anxiety, and light sensitivity.[36]

Even if animals make it out of the breeding facilities relatively unscathed, they may be subject to poor conditions and little to no veterinary care while in the pet stores, where store owners are incentivized to sell the animals quickly to make a profit and some have reportedly used antibiotics to cover up signs of illness.[37] Further, while rescue groups and even shelters will often provide for animals to receive vaccinations, deworming, and other preventative treatments before and even after adoption, pet stores provide fewer, if any, of these services—and none at all after the time of sale.[38]

iii. Mills and factories harm the environment.

Companion animal mills cause substantial pollution to the water, soil, and air.[39] State and federal inspection reports show that many puppy mills engage in improper and illegal waste disposal of feces, urine, and carcasses in violation of environmental law.[40] Pathogens from dog feces at puppy mills cause water pollution by seeping into the ground, draining into wet-dry streams and making their way into major rivers that serve as public drinking water sources.[41] Feces accumulation in soil — typical at animal mill facilities — causes production of methane, a greenhouse gas responsible for air pollution as well as global warning.[42]

A detailed environmental impact analysis of the Whispering Oaks puppy mill in Parkersburg, West Virginia, serves as just one example of the environmental hazards of puppy mills.[43] That mill was cited for violating West Virginia water pollution and solid waste statutes and, according to the researcher, is representative of the environmental impacts of puppy mills generally based upon its canine husbandry practices and size.[44]

iv. Mills and factories are a public health risk.

The release of pathogens into water, soil, and air also presents a public health risk to humans.[45] In particular, large numbers of dogs in facilities with improper waste management create significant risks for disease transmission.[46] Puppy mill dogs are regularly infected with pathogens excreted and transferred to the soil and capable of infecting animals or humans coming into contact with the soil.[47] The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that numerous zoonotic diseases are transmitted from dogs to humans through improper waste handling as well as soil and water contamination.[48] In May 2019, for instance, an outbreak of canine brucellosis, a type of zoonotic disease that is incurable in dogs and spreadable to humans, was reported in Knoxville, Iowa, with origination at a commercial dog breeding facility.[49] In addition, the CDC has linked outbreaks of antibiotic resistant diseases in humans to pet stores sourcing from puppy mills.[50] An outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni, impacting 118 people in 18 states and resulting in 26 hospitalizations, was traced to puppies from Petland pet stores and five other pet store chains.[51]

Because companion animal mills often have suboptimal vaccination and disease protection procedures, the mills also put animals and humans at risk for canine distemper, which is capable of infecting humans.[52] And indeed, recent canine distemper outbreaks at pet stores have been linked to commercial breeders.[53] Further, pet overpopulation that stems from the animal mill industry may also increase human exposure to other serious public health risks, such as rabies.[54]

v. Mills and factories create costs for New York, but few financial benefits.

Mass production of companion animals in commercial breeding facilities is a major cause of pet overpopulation, with approximately 6.5 million companion animals entering animal shelters each year nationwide.[55] This in turn results in significant costs for taxpayers in housing and euthanizing animals.[56] In fact, the State of New York expends approximately $50 million annually to house and euthanize animals.[57] Meanwhile, puppy mills typically do not provide financial benefits to states, since they often do not pay required licensing fees or taxes and employ few employees.[58]

b. The Bill Promotes Animal Adoption and Reduces Euthanasia of Homeless Animals.

A ban on pet store sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits would significantly increase adoption of homeless animals and reduce shelter euthanasia. Jurisdictions that have banned sales of companion animals have reported substantial increases in shelter pet adoption rates.[59] Similarly, pet store conversion programs, which work with pet stores to stop selling animals and instead showcase homeless animals for adoption, have shown great success in increasing adoption rates.[60]

A ban on pet store sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits would also significantly reduce euthanasia rates. In particular, the number of commercially produced companion animals from mills is a major cause of pet overpopulation.[61] While many rescue organizations are part of Petfinder — one of the largest pet adoption websites in North America[62] — many lack the resources and space needed to conduct large-scale adoption events. Accordingly, euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals is prevalent. Indeed, even though 80% of euthanized animals are healthy and adoptable,[63] around 56% of dogs and 71% of cats that enter animal shelters are euthanized,[64] with approximately 3 million cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year.[65] Unlike animals adopted from shelters and rescue groups, animals purchased at pet stores are not required by New York State law to be spayed or neutered at the time of purchase, which may further add to the overpopulation problem and increasing euthanasia rates.[66]

Not surprisingly then, jurisdictions that have passed ordinances banning the sale of companion animals have reported a significant decrease in euthanasia of shelter animals.[67] Veterinarians are also increasingly advocating for pet store sales bans as a mechanism to decrease shelter euthanasia.[68] Notably, these bans benefit not just the animals themselves but also those working in the shelter, as shelter euthanasia can have a severe negative psychological impact on shelter workers.[69]

c.  The Bill Protects Consumers.

Reducing the pipeline of companion animals from mills and factories to pet stores also protects consumers. Retail pet stores that sell companion animals from mills generally provide little information or misleading information to consumers about the origin of these animals and the conditions of their breeding.[70] Accordingly, consumers are often unaware of the source of pet store animals.[71] When consumers unwittingly purchase from pet stores animals that suffer from illnesses resulting from breeding and rearing practices, lack of preventative care, and unsanitary conditions at commercial breeding facilities, they can incur expensive veterinary bills and emotional trauma.[72] And in fact, pet stores face frequent consumer lawsuits for selling sick companion animals from commercial breeding facilities.[73]

While New York, like many other states, has a “pet lemon law” designed to protect consumers who buy sick animals from pet stores,[74] New York’s law[75] — and pet lemon laws more generally[76] —provide minimal protection in practice.[77] For instance, a consumer seeking remedies under New York’s law must return the animal within a short time (potentially just 14 days) and even then would be entitled to only limited remedies: exchange of the animal or a refund or reimbursement up to the animal’s purchase price, with no compensation for pain or suffering.[78]

d. The Bill Protects Animals Where Federal Regulation and Enforcement Have Been Ineffective.

The federal government regulates commercial breeding operations under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which is one of the few federal laws that govern humane treatment of commercially bred companion animals.[79] The AWA sets forth requirements regarding the transportation, purchase, sale, housing, care, handling, and treatment of commercially bred animals and authorizes the Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS), a division within the USDA, to promulgate associated standards and implement and enforce the AWA.[80] Relevantly here, the USDA requires commercial breeding facilities with five or more breeding females that sell to pet stores or consumers that do not see the animals prior to purchase to be licensed and comply with all regulations including regular inspections.[81]

Yet the standards of care for commercially bred animals outlined in the AWA and associated USDA regulations[82] are minimal. For instance, current standards provide just six inches of space above and around each dog[83] and allow for harmful wire flooring and stacked cages.[84] Current regulations also do not require that dogs receive daily exercise[85] or that continuous access to clean water be provided to cats or rabbits.[86] Current requirements leave significant discretion in the hands of puppy mill owners to decide what constitutes an adequate level of care with respect to living environment, cleanliness and sanitation, feeding, veterinary care, housing structure, and comfort, and contain vague specifications for “adequate” requirements.[87]

Current federal law is particularly lacking with respect to breeding animals. For instance, they do not provide for annual hands-on veterinary examinations and preventative care for such animals.[88] Commercial breeding facilities are permitted to breed female dogs every time they are in heat without limitation, which has significant negative health implications and is contrary to guidelines issued by a number of organizations and breeding clubs.[89] And no regulation governs how commercial breeding facilities treat adult dogs or cats who no longer reproduce, or puppies and kittens they cannot sell.[90] Commercial breeding facilities are therefore free to euthanize animals, even without a veterinarian.[91] Commercial breeding facilities regularly discard older cats and dogs that are less marketable as well as animals with physical irregularities or health issues.[92]

These standards have been deemed deficient by veterinary organizations.[93] In September 2015, for instance, The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Humane Society of the US, and ASPCA submitted a rulemaking petition to the USDA calling for ten reforms in basic care standards for dogs at commercial breeding facilities.[94] Only negligible changes have been adopted to date.[95] Given the limited nature of the USDA’s care requirements, the fact that a pet breeder is USDA-licensed is no endorsement of humane care.[96] Many other authorities have likewise deemed the Animal Welfare Act requirements inadequate to protect covered animals, including commercially bred cats, dogs, and rabbits, and ripe for significant reform.[97]

Further, the federal government has failed to enforce even these nominal and inadequate standards of care for commercially bred companion animals.[98] First, many commercial breeders fail to obtain licensing. For instance, a 2010 audit by the Office of Inspector General at APHIS found that 81% of sampled commercial breeders were unlicensed due to evasion of licensing or loopholes in licensing.[99] Inspectors also regularly fail to cite violations accurately.[100] A 2010 audit by the Office of the Inspector General at APHIS concluded that APHIS was ineffective in the inspections and enforcement process.[101] Specifically, auditors found that the enforcement process was ineffective against problematic dealers,[102] that inspectors did not cite or document violations properly,[103] and that APHIS misused guidelines to lower penalties for AWA violators and was lenient toward dealers that violate the AWA.[104] APHIS enforcement is also impaired due to minimal resources and staffing for a large volume of responsibilities.[105]

To exacerbate matters, USDA enforcement declined under the Trump administration, and further still as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.[106] The USDA launched 92% fewer enforcement cases in 2018 compared to 2016 and documented 60% fewer violations at licensing facilities in 2018 compared to 2017.[107] Inspectors were advised to treat commercial breeders and others regulated by the agency as partners rather than potential offenders and to consider violations as “teachable moments” in lieu of issuing citations.[108] In 2017, the USDA removed all inspection reports and enforcement actions from its website, such that consumers purchasing companion animals (and the public generally) could not easily monitor the USDA’s enforcement of the AWA.[109] During this time, the USDA argued that it was not legally required to publish its inspection and enforcement records.[110] Further, APHIS was not responsive to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and appeals by non-profit organizations.[111] Although the USDA has restored animal welfare inspection reports and enforcement actions on its website, these reports confirm that enforcement actions at USDA-licensed facilities have declined more than 90% over the last several years, and that the USDA has failed to issue any warnings, enter into any strong enforcement against problem facilities, or revoke any breeder licenses since 2018.[112] Since-departed USDA inspectors and veterinarians have stated that the agency actively discouraged them from documenting violations on inspection reports and from confiscating suffering animals.[113] The USDA also made formal changes in 2019 that served to further reduce effective enforcement of the AWA for commercial breeding facilities, including launching a pilot program that would alert some facilities about inspections in advance along with a new incentive program that allows commercial breeding facilities to avoid citations by self-reporting violations (including serious violations that result in animal deaths).[114] Then, inspections all but stopped entirely in light of COVID-19, with breeding facilities given permission to “opt out” of inspections, and new facilities allowed to open with no inspection required.[115] Yet despite the USDA’s poor enforcement record, courts have generally not interfered in the USDA’s decisions unless they are “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.”[116] Moreover, because the USDA generally has failed to cite breeders for egregious AWA violations, proposed rules that would increase penalties offer little benefit.[117]

e. The Bill Is Necessary Because New York State Does Not Effectively Regulate Puppy Mills.

As with federal law, state commercial breeding regulations and animal cruelty laws have been inadequate to effectively regulate New York State companion animal mills and protect consumers.

While New York commercial breeding guidelines slightly exceed the minimum standard of care set by the federal government,[118] the standards remain insufficient to protect animal welfare. For one, enforcement of state commercial breeding laws (in New York and generally) is inadequate.[119] In addition, New York commercial breeding laws regulate companion animal mills only within the state. Yet most pet stores regularly source animals from out of state, particularly from states with large concentrations of commercial breeding facilities and little regulation.[120] Most states that have companion animal commercial breeding laws do not significantly raise the standard of care or inspection requirements provided by the federal government, and 16 states have no commercial breeding laws at all.[121]

And while state animal cruelty law may also serve as a mechanism to police commercial breeding facilities, there is significant under-enforcement of such laws.[122] This is compounded by the difficulty in enforcing laws against an industry that is hidden from public view and by the fact that pet stores have little incentive to report animal cruelty at their supplier of companion animals.[123] More generally, New York has relatively weak animal protection laws as compared to other states.[124]

While New York City has enacted pet shop sourcing laws to address this issue, those laws alone cannot solve the problem. In particular, those laws apply only to New York City, and they rely on USDA enforcement records to determine whether a sale of a dog or cat is prohibited.[125] Yet as noted in Section III.D above, the USDA has a poor enforcement record.

f. Hundreds of U.S. Jurisdictions Have Already Banned Pet Store Animal Sales.

As of February 2021, more than 350 cities, local governments, and states across the country have enacted pet store animal sales bans.[126] States with retail pet sales bans include California[127] and Maryland.[128] Several states have similar pending bills.[129] Major U.S. cities that have passed such legislation include Albuquerque,[130] Atlanta,[131] Austin,[132] Boston,[133] Chicago,[134] El Paso,[135] Ft. Lauderdale,[136] Los Angeles,[137] Nashville,[138] Pittsburgh,[139] Philadelphia,[140] Providence,[141] Sacramento,[142] Salt Lake City,[143] San Diego,[144] San Francisco,[145] and St. Paul.[146]


a. “Pet Stores Would Go Out Of Business.”

Pet stores in New York State can continue to remain profitable without animal sales. Across the country, pet stores are updating their business models, no longer selling animals from commercial breeding facilities and instead showcasing homeless pets for adoption and focusing sales on a range of pet-related products and services.[147] The U.S. retail pet store market is continuing to thrive and experience significant growth despite increased competition by online sellers.[148]

This alternative business model is viable in part because of increased market demand for high-quality pet food, grooming, training, boarding services, and even veterinary services.[149] In fact, live animal sales comprise only a small fraction of money spent in the pet industry.[150] The two most successful pet stores in the United States, Petco and PetSmart, no longer sell dogs, cats, or rabbits but rather partner with rescue organizations and shelters to show select adoptable animals; and they have maintained successful financial models while doing so.[151] And only one of the top 25 pet store chains in the United States still sells dogs from commercial breeders.[152] Pet stores that work with rescue groups and shelters derive positive publicity and draw customers in for products and services.[153]

 b.  “Banning Animal Sales At Pet Stores Denies Consumer Choice, Particularly For Purebred Animals.”

Consumers appear to increasingly prefer adopting and rescuing animals rather than buying them.[154] And purebred companion animals can be obtained regularly from shelters and rescue organizations.[155] In fact, the estimated percent of purebred dogs in shelters is 25%,[156] and the availability of purebred animals in animal shelters is expected to rise.[157] Breed-specific rescue organizations are on the rise as well.[158] Notably too, the legislation does not ban sales of purebred animals by private breeders.

c. “Pet Store Animal Sales Bans Will Not End Puppy Mills.”

The pet store animal sales ban is one integral part of a solution to end companion animal mills. In order to eradicate these mills entirely, the proposed legislation should be supplemented with consumer education, additional local and state pet store sales bans, stronger federal and state laws to govern commercial breeding conditions, and enhanced enforcement of existing state and federal laws.

d. “A Pet Store Animal Sales Ban Will Be Struck Down.”

Several courts have held that local governments have authority to enforce ordinances that ban or restrict retail sale of dogs and cats and that such laws are a legitimate exercise of police power based upon the correlation between prohibition on the retail sales of companion animals and increased adoption, decreased euthanasia, and reduction in the prevalence of homeless animals.[159] Local government pet store animal sales bans have survived several legal challenges from the pet industry, including dormant commerce clause, equal protection, and substantive due process challenges.[160]


The Committee recommends that the bill provide for stronger penalties for repeat violators; as currently drafted, penalties for a violation can be as low as $100, which could allow pet stores to build the cost of violations into their prices and pass those costs on to consumers. Further, the Committee recommends adding language in Section 16 of the Agriculture and Markets law regarding provision of training for those statutorily charged with enforcing the ban in order to ensure an adequate mechanism for enforcement.


Puppy mills and kitten and rabbit factories exist because there is a demand for their “goods” from pet retailers who seek to purchase animals at the lowest possible cost. Barring pet stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits will eliminate a primary source of sales for puppy mills and kitten and rabbit factories, which benefits animals, the environment, and the public. In addition, the bill promotes animal adoption, reduces euthanasia of homeless animals, and protects consumers. The bill is necessary because federal regulation and enforcement have been ineffective, while New York State likewise does not effectively regulate puppy mills. In addition, hundreds of U.S. jurisdictions have already banned pet store animal sales.

For the reasons above, the New York City Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee supports the proposed legislation.

Animal Law Committee
Christopher Wlach, Chair

Reissued March 2021




[1] S.04234, 242nd Leg., Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2019), (All websites referenced in this report were last visited on February 24, 2021.)

[2] A “retail pet shop” under the bill means a for-profit establishment open to the public that sells or offers for sale animals to be kept as household pets, pet food, or supplies. The definition explicitly states that it does not include “breeders who sell or offer to sell directly to the consumer animals that are born and raised on the breeder’s residential premises.”

The bill also makes some related statutory changes to ensure regulatory consistency: removing retail pet shops from the definition of “pet dealer” in the New York Agriculture and Markets law and clarifying in the New York General Business Law that retail pet shops are not pet dealers.

[3] The bill does so by adding a new subsection to Section 753 to New York’s General Business Law. See N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 753 (McKinney 2014), Importantly, the bill would not prohibit pet shops from showcasing rescue dogs, cats, or rabbits for adoption. See N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 400(4),; N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 752(3) (McKinney 2014),

[4] N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 406(2) “Violations: Violation of any provision of this article, is a civil offense, for which a penalty of not less than one hundred dollars and not more than one thousand dollars for each violation may be imposed.”

[5] See N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 408(4); see also Authorities Move to Shut Down ‘National Puppy Laundering Ring’ with Ties to Chicago Pet Stores, Chicago Tribune (Mar. 18, 2019),

[7] The term puppy mill was initially defined by a federal district court as a “dog breeding operation in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits.” Avenson v. Zegart, 577 F. Supp. 958 (D. Minn. 1984). See Carol B. Johnson, Puppy Mills, in The Global Guide to Animal Protection (Andrew Linzey ed., 2013); Companion Animal Protection Society, Yes, Kitten Mills Are a Thing (Aug. 3, 2016),; Jenna Bardroff, Heard about Puppy Mills? Now Learn the Shocking Truth about Kitten Mills, One Green Planet (2014),; Rabbit Advocacy Network, Rabbit Breeding, (excerpted from Stories Rabbits Tell: A Natural and Cultural History of a Misunderstood Creature, by Susan E. Davis and Margo DeMello).

[8] The Humane Soc’y of the US, Puppy Mills: Facts and Figures (2021), [“HSUS Puppy Mills Facts”].

[9] Allen St. John, Where *Not* to Buy a Dog: The Pet Store Connection to the Business of Puppy Mills, Forbes (Feb. 22, 2012), (exposing primary sourcing of retail industry dogs from puppy mills); Michele Lazarow, The Pet Store and Puppy Mill Connection, Sun Sentinel (Sep. 29, 2015),; Sandra K. Jones, Dealing Dogs: Can We Strengthen Weak Laws in the Dog Industry?, 7 Rutgers J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 442, 455 (2010); Katherine Sloan, Death Without Dignity: The Misnomer of Euthanasia in the State Animal Shelter System and A Call for A No-Kill Florida, 32 J. Land Use & Envtl. L. 261, 279-280 (2016); Humane Soc’y International, Puppy Mills Fact-Sheet (2019),; Humane Soc’y of the US, Stopping Puppy Mills,; PAWS, Buyer Beware: The Problem with Puppy Mills (2019),; Kimberly Barnes, Detailed Discussion of Commercial Breeders and Puppy Mills, Animal L. & Hist. Cent. (2017),; Susan E. Davis & Margo Demello, Rabbit Breeding, Rabbit Advocacy Network, note 7 above.

[10] HSUS Puppy Mills Facts, note 8 above.

[11] ASPCA, Breaking News: NY Senate Passes Bill to End Retail Pet Sales (Jul. 21, 2020),; Amanda Fries, Ban on Sale of Animals in Pet Stores Passes New York Senate, Times Union (Jul. 21, 2020),

[12] The Humane Society of the United States conducted an investigation of 11 New York pet stores and analyzed interstate puppy shipping documents for over 100 New York pet stores and found that all stores secured a majority of their inventory from puppy mills (including many with records of substantial AWA violations), regardless of what pet stores’ sales staff claim to buyers regarding sourcing of animals. See The Humane Soc’y of the US, HSUS Investigates: New York Puppy Stores (Nov. 2011),

[13] Seven New York animal dealers were listed in The Humane Society’s 2019 Horrible 100, a report on some of the most problematic breeding facilities in the US. The Humane Soc’y of the US, The Horrible Hundred 2019, at 39-43 (2019), . Four New York dealers were listed in the 2020 Horrible 100. The Humane Soc’y of the US, The Horrible Hundred 2020, at 58-62 (2020), [“HSUS Horrible 100”].

[14] Krysten Kenny, A Local Approach to a National Problem: Local Ordinances as a Means of Curbing Puppy Mill Production and Pet Overpopulation, 75 Alb. L. Rev. 379, 379–80 (2012).

[15] See Barnes, note 9 above; Paul Solotaroff, The Dog Factory: Inside the Sickening World of Puppy Mills, Rolling Stone (Jan. 3, 2017),; Phillip Raclyn, A Revolutionary Idea to End Puppy Mills, American Veterinarian (Oct. 8, 2018),

[16] Franklin D. McMillan, Tufts University Center for Shelter Dogs, Puppy Mills: The Scientific Evidence of Harm They Cause to Dogs (2012), [“McMillan Puppy Mills Evidence of Harm to Dogs”]; Nathaniel Nunez, What to Know About Puppy Mills, NBC News (Dec. 5, 2018),; Adam J. Fumarola, With Best Friends Like Us Who Needs Enemies? The Phenomenon of the Puppy Mill, the Failure of Legal Regimes to Manage It, and the Positive Prospects of Animal Rights, 6 Buff. Envtl. L.J. 254, 260-261 (1999),; HSUS Horrible 100 at 86; National Puppy Mill Project, America’s Dirty Little Secret, (citing Janice Brown & Brendan Quealy, Saving Animals One Pet Store at a Time, Tails Pet Magazine, May 2012); Avianne Tan, 128 Animals Rescued From Suspected Puppy Mill in North Carolina, Officials Say, ABC News (Oct. 6, 2016), (discussing significant medical problems of rescued puppy mill dogs due to lack of basic veterinary care); Neil Genzlinger, A Dog’s Life Behind Bars for Profit, N.Y. Times (Apr. 26, 2009),

[17] HSUS Horrible 100 at 5, 6, 9, 14, 17, 19, 27, 29-30, 33, 35.

[18] USDA inspection reports contained numerous violations for severely malnourished dogs. See HSUS Horrible 100 at 14, 38, 41, 62.

[19] USDA inspection reports contained numerous violations for dogs with no water, dirty water, or frozen water buckets. The HSUS Horrible 100 at 1, 8, 10, 21-22, 25,30-36, 40, 43, 47-49, 51, 53, 55-56, 58, 65, 68.

[20] See e.g., HSUS Horrible 100 at 10, 19, 20, 25-27, 32-33, 39-40, 49, 54, 56, 58, 75-76, 83. See also Solotaroff, note 15 above; Christopher Brito, Puppy Mill Operator Arrested and More than 700 Dogs Rescued, CBS News (Mar. 8, 2019), (discussing 700 dogs found in horrific conditions at a Georgia puppy mill); Brenna Griteman, Shelter Takes in 149 Dogs Rescued from Puppy Mill, The Courier (Aug. 8, 2019), (discussing harmful conditions at puppy mill); Fumarola, note 16 above, at 260-261.

[21] HSUS Horrible 100 at 5, 12-14, 25-26, 33-34, 39, 46-48, 53, 59, 67-68, 71-72, 76.

[22] The Humane Soc’y of the US, Stopping Puppy Mills (2019), note 9 above.

[23] Id.; see note 93 below.

[24] McMillan Puppy Mills Evidence of Harm to Dogs, note 16 above; Johnson, note 7 above; Michael Brandow, A Matter of Breeding: A Biting History of Pedigree Dogs and How the Quest for Status Has Harmed Man’s Best Friend (2015); Fumarola, note 16 above; The Humane Soc’y of the US, Shedding Light on the Horrors of Puppy Mills,; Quixi Sonntag & Karen L. Overall, Key Determinants of Dog and Cat Welfare 33 Rev. Sci. Tech. 213, 214,; California Pet Shop Legislation: Hearing on AB 485 Before the S. Standing Comm. on Bus., Professions and Econ. Dev. (Cal. 2017) (statement of Deborah Howard, Founder/President, Companion Animal Protection Soc’y),; Candace C. Croney, Turning up the Volume on Man’s Best Friend: Ethical Issues Associated with Commercial Dog Breeding, 1 J. Applied Animal Ethics Res. 1, 1-23 (2019); Rabbit Advocacy Network, note 7 above; Bardroff, note 7 above; Kristen Lacoste, Yes, Kitten Mills Exist — And Here’s How We Can Help Stop Them, Petful (Apr. 4, 2013),; Sarah V. Schweig, Kitten Factories Actually Exist and They’re Terrible, The Dodo (Aug. 9, 2016),

[25] McMillan Puppy Mills Evidence of Harm to Dogs, note 16 above; Am. Veterinary Med. Ass’n, Puppy Behavior In Dogs From Pet Stores Compared To Noncommercial Breeders, 27 Advances in Small Animal Medicine & Surgery 3 (2014); Brandow, note 24 above, at 224-228. The Humane Soc’y of the US, Veterinary Problems in Puppy Mill Dogs (2012),; The Puppy Mill Project, About Puppy Mills,; National Puppy Mill Project, note 16 above. See also Am. Veterinary Med. Found., Disease Risks for Dogs in Social Settings,; Phillip Raclyn DVM, CVA, A Revolutionary Idea to End Puppy Mills, American Veterinarian (Oct. 8, 2018), (“When dogs from puppy mills grow older, they’re more prone to develop a litany of health issues including arthritis, endocrine problems, alopecia, and immune disease.”); PETA, Puppy Mills: Dogs Abused for the Pet Trade (2018),

[26] The Humane Soc’y of the US, Veterinary Problems in Puppy Mill Dogs, note 25 above.

[27] Id; See also The Humane Soc’y of the US, Stopping Puppy Mills, note 9 above.

[28] Laura M. Wauthier & Joanne M. Williams, Using the Mini C-BARQ to Investigate the Effects of Puppy Farming on Dog Behavior, 50 Applied Animal Behavior 75 (2018),; Croney, note 24 above, at 4.3.

[29] Franklin D. McMillan, Behavioral and Psychological Outcomes for Dogs Sold as Puppies Through Pet Stores and/or Born in Commercial Breeding Establishments: Current Knowledge and Putative Causes 19 J. of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 14 (2017),

[30] Frank D. McMillan et al., Differences in Behavioral Characteristics Between Dogs Obtained as Puppies from Pet Stores and Those Obtained from Non-Commercial Breeders, 242 J. of the Am. Veterinary Medical Association 1359 (2013).

[31] Id.

[32] Franklin D. McMillan et al., Mental Health of Dogs Formerly Used as “Breeding Stock” in Commercial Breeding Establishments, 135 Applied Animal Behavior Sci. 86 (2011),; Croney, note 24 above, at 4.3.

[33] McMillan et al., note 32 above.

[34] Rabbit Advocacy Network, note 7 above; The Humane Soc’y of the US, Undercover Investigation Finds Dead Rabbits in Virginia Petland Store-Ailing Rabbits Not Taken to Veterinarian 3 (Apr. 2019), (“HSUS Petland Rabbit Report”); Dana Hedgpeth, Dead Rabbits, Bad Conditions Found at VA Pet Shop, Humane Society Report Says, Wash. Post (Apr. 4, 2019), (discussing pet store that obtains animals from a rabbit mill).

[35] PETA, Bunny Fever: Don’t Catch It!,; House Rabbit Soc’y, Support for Ban on Pet Store Sales (2019),; Rabbit Advocacy Network, note 7 above.

[36] Tom Ryan, Characteristics of Cats Raised at Kitten Mills, The Nest,; Brenda Griffin & Kelly R. Hume, Recognition and Management of Stress in Housed Cats in Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine 717-734 (John R. August ed., 2006).

[37] Ben Kerns, The chilling reasons why you shouldn’t buy your pets from a pet store, Salon (July 19, 2015),

[38] Petfinder, What Is Included In An Adoption Fee?,

[39] Melissa Towsey, Something Stinks: The Need for Environmental Regulation of Puppy Mills, 21 Vill. Envtl. L.J. 159, 177 (2010),; The Humane Soc’y of the U.S, Environmental Impacts of Puppy Mills, (“HSUS Environmental Impacts of Puppy Mills”).

[40] John A. Gill, Environmental Impacts of One Puppy Mill Among Many: A Case Study (June 2013),

[41] HSUS Environmental Impacts of Puppy Mills, note 38 above.

[42] Id.; Gill, note 40 above, at 8.

[43] Gill, note 40 above, at 3.

[44] Id.

[45] Id., at 6, 9.

[46] Towsey, note 39 above, at 184.

[47] Gill, note 40 above, at 9; HSUS Environmental Impacts of Puppy Mills, note 38 above.

[48] Zoonotic Diseases, Ctr. for Disease Control and Prevention (2017),

[49] Sarah Beckman, Canine Brucellosis Case Confirmed in Central Iowa, We Are (May 10, 2019),; Canine Brucellosis, The Ctr. for Food Security & Pub. Health,

[50] Chris Dall, CDC Blames MDR Campylobacter Outbreak on Pet-store Puppy Exposure, Ctr. for Infectious Disease Res. and Pol’y (Sep. 20, 2018),; ASPCA, Still Ill: Puppy Mills Continue to Make People Sick (Dec. 18, 2019),

[51] Id.; Martha P. Montgomery et al., Center for Disease Control, Multidrug-Resistant Campylobacter jejuni Outbreak Linked to Puppy Exposure- US, 2016-2018, 67 CDC Morbidity and Mortality Wkly. Rep. 1032-25 (2018),

[52] B.A. Schumaker et al., Canine Distemper Outbreak in Pet Store Puppies Linked to High Volume Dog Breeder, 24 J. Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 1094 (2012),; Andreas Beineke et al., Cross-species Transmission of Canine Distemper Virus-an Update, 1 One Health 49 (2015),

[53] Schumaker, note 52 above.

[54] Jean McNeil & Elisabeth Constandy, Addressing the Problem of Pet Overpopulation: The Experience of New Hanover County Animal Control Services, 12 J. Pub. Health Mgmt. Prac. 452, 452 (2006),

[55] See note 61 below; ASPCA, Shelter Intake and Surrender,

[56] The estimated amount spent by animal control organizations in the United States annually is $800 to $1 billion. See The Humane Soc’y of the US, Pets by the Numbers (2016),

[57] Environment Conservation and Budget: Hearing on 2018-2019 Budget and the 2018 Legislative Session Before J. Legis. Budget Comm., 2018 Leg. (N.Y. 2018) (statement of Libby Post, Exec. Dir. NYS Animal Protection Fed’n),

[58] The Humane Soc’y of the US, Puppy Mill Closure: The Economic Impact on a Local Community (2020),; The Shady Economics of a Puppy Mill, The Malamute Blog (Sept. 22, 2016),; Wayne Pacelle, Tax Code Crackdown Leads to Rescue of 120 Puppy Mill Dogs, Huffington Post (Dec. 6, 2017), (discussing tax evasion of puppy mills).

[59] E.g., Albuquerque passed an ordinance banning the sale of cats and dogs by pet stores in 2006 and reported that in the four years after its passage adoptions increased by 23%. See Albuquerque, N.M., Code of Ordinances § 9-2-3-12 (2006); Rebecca Dube, No Pups for Sale? Cities Ban Pet Shops, (May 27, 2010),

[60] The Humane Soc’y of the US’s Pet Stores Conversion Program adopted out more than 10,000 shelter and rescue dogs between 2013-2017 with 20 pet stores across the country. See Kitty Block, 10,000 Dog Adoptions Through HSUS Pet Conversion Program, Humane Society (Apr. 7, 2017),

[61] Katherine C. Tushaus, Don’t Buy the Doggy in the Window: Ending the Cycle That Perpetuates Commercial Breeding with Regulation of the Retail Pet Industry, 14 Drake J. Agric. L. 501, 505 (Fall 2009); Sloan, note 9 above, at 290; Phyllis Coleman, et al., It’s Raining Cats and Dogs…Government Lawyers Take Note: Differential Licensing Laws Generate Revenue, Reduce Costs, Protect Citizens, and Save Lives, 40 Stet. L. Rev. 393, 397-398 (Winter 2011); Kenny, note 14 above, at 379; Sarah A. Balcom, Legislating a Solution to Animal Shelter Euthanasia: A Case Study of California’s Controversial SB 1785, 8 Soc’y & Animals 129 (2000); Paws, Inc., Avoid Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders When Getting a Pet Dog or Cat, in Ethical Pet Ownership: Puppy Mills, Rescue Pets, and Exotic Animal Trade 38 (Lisa Idzikowski eds., 2019).

[62] Petfinder,

[63] The Humane Soc’y of the US, Pets by the Numbers, note 56 above.

[64] American Humane Association, Animal Shelter Euthanasia (2016),; Regina Schoenfeld-Tacher et al., Perception of Cats: Assessing the Differences Between Videos and Still Pictures on Adoptability and Associated Characteristics, Frontiers in Veterinary Science, Mar. 27, 2019, at 1,

[65] HSUS Puppy Mills Facts, note 9 above; see also Kimberly A. Woodruff & David R. Smith, Mississippi State University of Veterinary Medicine, An Estimate of the Number of Dogs in U.S. Shelters … and the Factors Affecting Their Fate (2018),

[66] Cf. N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 377-A.

[67] E.g., Albuquerque passed an ordinance banning the sale of cats and dogs by pet stores in 2006 and reported a 35% decrease in euthanasia within four years. Albuquerque, N.M., Code of Ordinances § 9-2-3-12 (2006); Rebecca Dube, note 59 above.

[68] See, e.g., Gary Weitzman, DVM, Pet Store Bill Would Save Shelter Animals’ Lives, San Diego Union-Trib. (Jun. 16, 2017),

[69] The euthanasia of healthy animals causes depression and anxiety for shelter workers, at times leading to suicide. See, e.g., Charlie L. Reeve, et al., The Caring-Killing Paradox: Euthanasia-Related Strain Among Animal-Shelter Workers, 35 J. Applied Social Psych. 119 (2005).

[70] The Humane Soc’y of the US, HSUS Investigates: New York Puppy Stores (Nov. 2011) 2,; Jackie Callaway, Undercover Video Allegedly Shows Pet Stores Peddling Sick Puppies, ABC News (May 28, 2019),

[71] Press Release, Best Friends Animal Soc’y, New Survey Reveals More than Two in Five Americans Don’t Realize Pet Shop Puppies are Bred in Inhumane Mills (June 23, 2014),; Jones, note 9 above, at 479 (discussing consumers’ lack of understanding of the sourcing of pet store animals).

[72] The Humane Soc’y of the US, Puppy Buyer Complaints: A 10 Year Summary (2018),; Stephanie K. Savino, Puppy Lemon Laws: Think Twice before Buying That Doggy in the Window, 114 Penn St. L. Rev. 643, 660 (2009),; Mitch A. Montgomery, North Carolina’s Puppy Mill Problem: New Commercial Breeding Standards Won’t Solve the Problem, But They’re a Start, 7 Elon L. Rev. 449, 454 (2015) (discussing behavioral problems associated with pet store/puppy mill animals and associated extensive veterinary bills); More Illnesses Linked to Pet Store Puppies, CBS News (Oct. 5, 2017),; Jackie Callaway, Undercover Video Allegedly Shows Pet Stores Peddling Sick Puppies, ABC Action News, note 70 above; Elizabeth Fiedler, Americans Love Designer Dogs but Health Problems Are Common, WHYY (Jan. 23, 2017),; Julia Marsh, I Bought a Sick Dog from NYC’s High-End ‘Puppy Mill’ Chain, The New York Post (Aug. 31, 2016),

[73] Nick Rummell, NY Pet Shops Accused of Selling Sick Puppies, Courthouse News Service (May 16, 2018),; Jason Paul Tassin, Petland Class Action Says Puppies Prone to Illness, Top Class Actions (July 28, 2017),; Priscilla DeGregory, Pet Store that Allegedly Sold Sick, Abused Puppies Facing Lawsuit from DCA, N.Y. Post (May 6, 2019),; Jason Knowles, ABC News, Pet Store Accused of Selling Sick Puppies Settles Lawsuit (Sept. 21, 2016),; Associated Press, Ohio Files Lawsuit Over Sick Puppies, N.Y. Times (Mar. 17, 2009),; Alma Fausto, Lawsuit Claims Southern California Pet Store Chain Sold Sick Puppy Mill Dogs, Press-Enterprise (Sept. 25, 2014),; CASSY0 & Community Contributor, “Furry Babies” Pet Store Faces Lawsuit for Allegedly Selling Unhealthy Puppy Mill Puppies, Chi. Trib. (June 6, 2013),; Bill Heltzel, Westchester County Bus. J., Hartsdale Pet Store Consents to NY AG Fine Over Misleading Advertising (May 20, 2019),; Joshua P. Angell, Chicago Pet Store Accused of Selling Sick Puppies from Puppy Mills, Mode Nook,; Animal Legal Def. Fund, Class Action Against “Barkworks” Serves as Warning for Would-be Puppy Purchasers, Yuba Net (Dec. 16, 2016),

[74] See Savino, note 72 above, at 650.

[75] N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 753 (McKinney 2009); Pet Lemon Law, Off. N.Y. Att’y Gen.,

[76] New York’s pet lemon law is in these respects similar to most states. See Am. Vet. Med. Ass’n, Pet Purchase Protection Laws,

[77] Tim Darragh, Lemon Law Can’t Take the Bite Out of Buying a Sick Dog, The Morning Call (Mar. 11, 2007) at A8,

[78] See N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 753(1).

[79] Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 2131-2159.

[80] U.S. Dep’t of Agric., Intro to Aphis Animal Care and the Regulatory Process: Slides (2016),; 7 U.S.C.A § 2143(a)(1) (West 1985); U.S. Dep’t of Agric., The Animal Welfare Act: A Legislative and Regulatory History,

[82] U.S. Dep’t of Agric., USDA Animal Care, Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Act Regulations (2017),

[83] Id. at 119; 9 C.F.R. § 3.6(c)(1)(i). On the importance of adequate space, see Kevin J. Stafford, The Welfare of Dogs 169-70 (2007); Simona Normando et al., Effects of Space Allowance on the Behaviour of Long-Term Housed Shelter Dogs, 103 Behavioral Processes 306-14 (2014),; Moriah Hurt et al., Promoting the Welfare of Kenneled Dogs: Space Allocations and Exercise, Purdue Extension (Feb. 2015),

[84] U.S. Dep’t of Agric., note 82 above, at 111; 9 C.F.R. § 3.6(a)(2)(xii) (2014). For harm to animals associated with wire flooring and stacked cages see: Humane Soc’y Vet. Med. Ass’n, Veterinary Report on Puppy Mills, 6-7 (2013), [“HSVMA Veterinary Report on Puppy Mills”]; Humane Soc’y of the US, Problems with Grid Flooring in Dog Kennels (2010),; Mark J. Prescott et al., Eighth Report of the BVAAWF/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW Joint Working Group on Refinement: Refining Dog Husbandry and Care, 38 Lab Animal Supp. 1, S1-28 (2004), (“wire mesh flooring systems are not recommended”); Am. Vet. Med. Ass’n (AVMA), Model Bill and Regulations to Assure Appropriate Care for Dogs Intended for Use as Pets, at IIa (Apr. 9, 2010),

[85] U.S. Dep’t of Agric., note 82 above, at 121; 9 C.F.R. § 3.8 (2014). Regarding importance of daily exercise requirements. see: AVMA, note 82 above, at IV.e; Michael B. Hennessy et al., Exploring Human Interaction and Diet Effects on the Behavior of Dogs in a Public Animal Shelter, 5 J. Applied Animal Welfare Sci. 253 (2002); Suzanne Hetts et al., Influence of Housing Conditions on Beagle Behaviour, 34 Applied Animal Behav. Sci. 138 (1992); Moriah Hurt et al., Promoting the Welfare of Kenneled Dogs: Space Allocations and Exercise, Purdue Extension (Feb. 2015),

[86] U.S. Dep’t of Agric., note 82 above, at 123; 9 C.F.R. § 3.10.

[87] U.S. Dep’t of Agric., note 82 above, at 111-124.

[88] U.S. Dep’t of Agric., note 82 above, at 75; 9 C.F.R. § 2.40(b).

[89] 9 C.F.R. § 2.40 (2015). Regarding harmful impact of overbreeding and breeding recommendations, see: HSVMA Veterinary Report on Puppy Mills, note 84 above, at 1; American Kennel Club, A Guide to Breeding Your Dog 9 (2007),; Soc’y for Theriogenology, SFT/ACT Position Statements: Welfare of Breeding Dogs,; Nat’l Labrador Retriever Club, Code of Ethics (Feb. 20, 2005),; Beagle Club, Code of Ethics,; Am. Boxer Club, Code of Ethics (Sept. 16, 2005),

[90] 9 C.F.R. § 2.75(a)(1)(ix) (2014).

[91] 9 C.F.R. § 2.40(b)(4).

[92] E.g., Scott Rapp, Seneca County Kennel Owner Accused of Using Homemade Gas Chamber to Kill 93 Dogs, The Post-Standard (Sept. 15, 2010),; Amy Worden, Berks Kennel Owners Kill Their 80 Dogs, Philadelphia Inquirer (Aug. 13, 2008), at 15, (discussing inhumane euthanasia of dogs with veterinary problems); Colorado Animal Rescue Saves Discarded Dogs, Finds Homes for Them, Fox 31 Denver (Nov. 21, 2012), (writing about over 7,000 dogs that were discarded by puppy mills); Kara Gerwin, There’s (Almost) No Place Like Home: Kansas Remains in the Minority on Protecting Animals from Cruelty, 15 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 125, 132 (2005) (discussing puppy mill owner’s brutal killing of dogs).

[93] The Humane Soc’y Veterinarian Med. Soc’y, Husbandry and Medical Concerns in Puppy Mills,; HSVMA Veterinary Report on Puppy Mills, note 84 above, at 11-12.

[94] Latham & Watkins LLP, Petition to the United States Department of Agriculture for Rulemaking under the Animal Welfare Act to Increase Minimum Standards at Commercial Dog Breeding Facilities (2015),

[95] Slight changes to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) took effect on November 9, 2020, which provide the requirement that dogs receive yearly veterinary exams and vaccinations, as well as continual access to fresh water. See 85 Fed. Reg. 28772,

[96] The USDA inspector general found “dogs cared for by USDA-licensed breeders that were walking on injured legs, suffering from tick-infestations, eating contaminated food, and living in unsanitary conditions.” Puppies ‘N Love v. City of Phoenix, 116 F. Supp. 3d 971, 978 (D. Ariz. 2015).

[97] Carole Lynn Nowicki, The Animal Welfare Act: All Bark and No Bite, 23 Seton Hall Legis. J. 443 (1999); Report of the Animal Law Committee, New York City Bar Association, Recommendation to Amend the Animal Welfare Act (2003),; Valerie Stanley, The Animal Welfare Act and USDA: Time for an Overhaul, 16 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 103 (1998); Proshanti Banerjee, The Harm Principle at Play: How the Animal Welfare Act Fails to Protect Animals Adequately, 15 U. Md. L.J. Race, Religion, Gender & Class 361 (2015); Justin Marceau, How the Animal Welfare Act Harms Animals, 69 Hastings L.J. 925, 958-959 (2018); Jones, note 9 above, at 452.

[98] Tushaus, note 61 above, at 508; Samantha Mortlock, Standing On New Ground: Underenforcement of Animal Protection Laws Causes Competitive Injury to Complying Entities, 32 Vt. L. Rev. 273, 275 (2007). Katherine M. Swanson, Carte Blanche for Cruelty: The Non-Enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, 35 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 937 (2002); Jones, note 9 above, at 457; Christina Widner, Channeling Cruella De Vil: An Exploration of Proposed and Ideal Regulation on Domestic Animal Breeding in California, 20 San Joaquin Agric. L. Rev. 217, 222 (2011).

[99] Off. Inspector Gen., Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Animal Care Program Inspections of Problematic Dealers 37 (2010), [“Office of Inspector General APHIS Audit”]; ASPCA, Federal Licensing & USDA Standards, (discussing evasion of licensing); HSUS Petland Rabbit Report, note 34 above (discussing unlicensed large scale rabbit mill in VA).

[100] HSUS Horrible 100 at 2-4.

[101] Office of Inspector General APHIS Audit at 8, 17, 30.

[102] Id. at 8.

[103] Id. at 17.

[104] Id. at 8, 30 (Animal Care “inspected 8,289 licensed dealers and found that 5,261 violated AWA …. At the re-inspection of 4,250 violators, 20 inspectors found that 2,416 repeatedly violated AWA, including 863 that continued to violate the same subsections.”)

[105] APHIS is not only charged with enforcing the AWA with regard to commercial breeders, it also enforces the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. § 7701), the Horse Protection Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1821-1831), and the Honeybee Act (7 U.S.C. §§ 281-286), among others. The Animal Care unit has 200 employees total in the United States, not all of whom are inspectors. This small number of inspectors is tasked with performing 9,000 inspections of approximately 8,000 licensed or registered facilities annually under the Animal Welfare Act, as well as over 1,500 inspections of horse shows under the Horse Protection Act. USDA, About Animal Care (last modified June 2, 2020),; Karin Brulliard & William Wan, Caged Raccoons Drooled in 100 Degree Heat but Federal Enforcement Has Faded, Wash. Post. (Aug. 21, 2019),

[106] Karin Brulliard, The USDA Is Issuing Far Fewer Citations to Zoos, Labs, and Breeders for Animal Welfare Violations, Wash. Post (Feb. 26, 2019),; HSUS Horrible 100 at 3.

[107] Karin Brulliard, USDA’s Enforcement of Animal Welfare Laws Plummeted in 2018, Agency Figures Show, Wash. Post. (Oct. 18, 2018),; Brulliard & Wan, note 105 above.

[108] Brulliard & Wan, note 105 above.

[109] See Karin Brulliard, USDA Abruptly Purges Animal Welfare Information from Its Website, Wash. Post. (Feb. 3, 2017),; Emily Malhiot, Finding Transparency in A “Blackout”: The USDA’s Removal of Animal Welfare Records from Its Public Database, 50 U. Pac. L. Rev 103, 106 (2018); Delcianna J. Winders, Blackout: The Latest in the USDA’s Ongoing Attempts to Stymie Transparency, Salon (May 29, 2017),; HSUS Horrible 100 at 2.

[110] Brief of Defendant, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Inc. v. United States Dep’t of Agric., 285 F. Supp. 3d 307 (D.D.C. 2018) (No. 1:17-cv-00269-CRC),

[111] Press Release, ASPCA, ASPCA Files Federal Lawsuit Against USDA for Failure to Respond to FOIA Requests for Animal Welfare Records (Apr. 9, 2019),; see also New York City Bar Association Animal Law Committee, Report on H.R.1368/S.503 (Feb. 8, 2018),

[112] The HSUS Horrible 100 at 2-3; Brulliard & Wan, note 105 above.

[113] Id.

[114] Kitty Block, USDA Further Loosens Oversight of Puppy Mills and Other Operations, Leaving Foxes to Guard the Henhouse, A Humane World: Kitty Block’s Blog (Feb. 28, 2019),; Brulliard & Wan, note 105 above.

[115] The HSUS Horrible 100 at 3. (All licensees and registrants were notified by the UDSA on March 27, 2020, that the agency would be “limiting routine inspections” due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that if they “did not want to participate in any inspection, they could simply tell their inspector to ‘come back another time.’”),

[116] Clark v. United States Dep’t of Agric., 537 F.3d 934, 939 (8th Cir. 2008) (quoting 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A)(2006)).

[117] Lara Trump et al., USDA Must Do More to Crack Down on Abusive Puppy Mills, Wash. Examiner (Apr. 23, 2019),

[118] N.Y.S. Dep’t Agric. & Mkts. Division Animal Industry, Pet Dealer Licensing Program Guidelines (2015),; N.Y. Agric. & Mkts. Law § 401-407, Note that New York City has enhanced regulation through a pet shop sourcing law that provides that city pet shops may only obtain dogs or cats from breeders in compliance with the AWA. NYC Admin. Code § 17-1702.

[119] See Savino, note 72 above, at 655 (“many states do not have effective enforcement measures to regulate puppy mills”); Tushaus, note 61 above, at 512; Widner, note 98 above, at 231; Melissa Daniels, PA’s Dog Law Lacks Enforcement Audit Finds, The Mercury (July 25, 2013),; Kailey A. Burger, Solving the Problem of Puppy Mills: Why the Animal Welfare Movement’s Bark Is Stronger than Its Bite, 43 Wash. U. J. L. & Pol’y 259, 276 (2014), (discussing underenforcement of state puppy mill law); Bailey M. Schamel, Made in the Midwest: Missouri’s Puppy Mill Problem and How It Should Be Fixed, 84 Mo. L. Rev. 279, 290 (2019); Nicole R. Pallotta, Chattel or Child: The Liminal Status of Companion Animals in Society and Law, 8 Soc. Sci. 158, 164 (2019).

[120] See Montgomery, note 72 above, at 461 (discussing pet stores’ practice of purchasing animals from out of state mills from states with minimal or no regulation of commercial mills); Jaime Dejesus, Brooklyn Pol Supports Bill to Ban Sale of Puppy Mill Dogs in New York’s Pet Shops, Brooklyn Reporter (May 9, 2019), (discussing pet shop sourcing from out of state commercial breeding facilities); Tory N. Parrish, Bill Would Ban Sale of Puppies, Kittens, Rabbits at Pet Stores, Newsday (June 10, 2019),; Int’l Soc’y for Animal Rights, Dog Overpopulation and Puppy Mills, (highlighting the concentration of puppy mills throughout the Midwest and Great Plains and pet store sourcing from mills in these geographic areas).

[121] Commercial Breeders and Puppy Mills, Animal L. & Hist. Cent. (2017),; Rebecca F. Wisch, Table of State Commercial Pet Breeders Laws, Animal L. & Hist. Cent. (2017),; Protected Paws, Puppy Mill Laws by State,; Robyn Fae Katz, The Importance of Enacting A Texas Commercial Breeder Law to Regulate Loopholes That the Federal Law Creates, 11 Tex. Tech Admin. L.J. 185, 186 (2009).

[122] Margit Livingston, Desecrating the Ark: Animal Abuse and the Law’s Role in Prevention, 87 Iowa L. Rev. 1, 1-2 (2001); Pamela Frasch et al., State Animal Anti-Cruelty Statutes: An Overview, 5 Animal L. 69 (1999); Joseph G. Sauder, Enacting and Enforcing Felony Animal Cruelty Laws to Prevent Violence Against Humans, 6 Animal L. 1-2 (2000); Jessica Rubin, Desmond’s Law: A Novel Approach to Animal Advocacy, 24 Animal L. 243, 245 (2018); Investigating & Prosecuting Animal Abuse: A Guidebook on Safer Communities, Safer Families & Being an Effective Voice for Animal Victims, Nat’l District Att’ys Ass’n 2, 14 (2013); Pallotta, note 119 above, at 164; Kara Gerwin, There’s (Almost) No Place Like Home, 15 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y at 132 (discussing puppy mill owner’s brutal killing of dogs and minimal penalties and enforcement of animal abuse laws at puppy mills).

[123] See Montgomery, note 72 above, at 457; Tushaus, note 61 above, at 512; Savino, note 72 above, at 656.

[124] New York is ranked 33 out of 50 for animal protection law by ALDF. See Animal Legal Defense Fund, State Animal Protection Laws (2019),

[125] See NYC Admin. Code § 17-1702,; see also New York City Bar Association Animal Law Committee, Testimony in Support of Int. 0055-A 2014, 0136-A 2014, and 0146-A 2014 (Nov. 24, 2014), The law requires, among other things, that pet shops selling dogs or cats acquire them only from USDA Class A licensees that have not had certain specified violations or specified combinations of violations. These rules were subsequently updated by NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DOHMH”) in 2018. DOHMH, Notice of Adoption of Amendment to Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York, The NYC Bar Animal Law Committee issued reports supporting recommendations; see also NYC Bar Association Animal Law Committee, Report on Proposed Pet Shop Rule (Dec. 11, 2017),

[126] Best Friends Animal Soc’y, States with Retail Pet Sales Bans (2021),; see also Christine Hauser, California Forces Pet Stores to Sell Only Dogs and Cats from Shelters, N.Y. Times (Jan. 2, 2019),; Kitty Block, The People Have Spoken, A Humane World: Kitty Block’s Blog (Apr. 16, 2019),

[127] Cal. Health & Safety Code § 122354.5 (2018).

[128] Pet Purchaser Protection Act, Md. Bus. Reg., §§ 19-701 – 19-707 (2018).

[130] City of Albuquerque, N.M., HEART Ordinance 29-2006 (Oct. 10, 2016),

[132] Austin, Tex., Ordinance No. 20101216-024 (Dec. 2010),

[133] Boston, Mass., Ordinance Regarding the Sale of Animals in the City of Boston (Mar. 2016),

[137] Los Angeles, Cal., Report No. R12-0307 (June 2013),

[138] Nashville, Tenn., Ordinance No. BL2018-1159 (Aug. 2018).

[139] Pittsburgh, Pa, Ordinance: 55 File Number: 2015-2284 (June 2016),

[142] Sacramento, Cal., Ordinance Amending Article IX of Chapter 9.44 of the Sacramento City Code Relating to the Sale and Advertisement of Dogs and Cats (May 2017),

[143] Salt Lake City, Utah, Ordinance of the Legislative Body of Salt Lake County, Utah, Enacting Section 8.03.035 of the Salt Lake County Code of Ordinances, 2001, Relating to the Sale of Dogs, Cats and Rabbits at Commercial Animal Establishments in Salt Lake County (Oct. 2015),

[146] Saint Paul, Minn., Amending Chapter 347 of the Legislative Code to Include Regulations of the Sale of Dogs and Cats at Pet Shops and Pet Shop Facilities (Jan. 2019),

[147] Pet Store Dog Adoptions: List of Stores, Best Friends Animal Soc’y,

[148] Mark Kalaygian, Exponential Growth: The Latest Edition of Pet Business’ Top 25 Retailers List Reveals the Staggering Rate at Which the Pet Specialty Channel’s Premier Chains are Expanding¸ Pet Bus. (Jan. 3, 2017),; IBISWorld, Pet Stores in the U.S. Industry Report (2018), (“Despite mounting external competition from online retailers, pet stores were able to remain successful by pivoting toward service offerings, such as grooming or day care….”); Million Insights, Pet Care Market Size and Forecast Report 2014-2025 (2018),

[149] Million Insights, note 148 above; Heidi Brown, Making Pets Profitable, Forbes (Oct. 16, 2009),; Kelsey Oliver, Puppy Love: Pet Owners Will Invest in Premium Products and Services, Boosting Industry Revenue (2019),; Samantha Masunaga, Small Pet Store Thrives by Offering Unusual Products, Personal Service, L.A. Times (May 12, 2015),; Emma Bedford, Total Revenue of PETCO Animal Supplies in the United States from 2011/12 to 2018/19, Statista (Feb. 28, 2019),

[150] Live animal sales comprised only 4.4 percent of the amount total spent in the pet industry in 2010. Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics and Trends, Am. Pet Products Ass’n,

[151] Mark Kalaygian,, The Top 25 Pet Retailers in North America (Mar. 1, 2019); Mark Kalaygian, note 148 above; David Sprinkle, The Success of Large Pet Store Chains, Pet Food Indus. (June 8, 2016),; Stuart E. Jackson, Grow Your Business by Offering Less — and More, 29 J. Bus. Strategy 47, 48-49 (2008) (discussing Petco and PetSmart’s profitable models); Emma Bedford, note 149 above.

[152] Henry Grabar, Cities Are Slowly Putting Puppy Mills Out of Business. These States Are Trying to Stop Them, Slate (Sept. 9, 2016),

[153] 16,051 Pets Saved During the PetSmart Charities National Adoption Weekend, Life With Dogs (Nov. 29, 2011), (discussing a charity established by PetSmart stores with the goal of raising money for animal welfare and helping pets find homes).

[154] Courtney Bir, et al., Stated Preferences for Dog Characteristics and Sources of Acquisition, 7(8) Animals 59 (2017),

[155] See Lisa Towell, Myths About Pet Stores and Breeders, PETA PRIME (Jan. 18, 2012),; The Humane Soc’y of the US, Adopting from an Animal Shelter or Rescue Group (2019),

[156] Animal Sheltering, Pets by the Numbers-Data and Statistics on Pet Ownership, Community Cat, and Shelter Population in the US (2019),

[157] It’s a Dog’s Life for Traditional Canine Breeds, The Scotsman (Oct. 11, 2018),

[158] Why Breed Specific Rescues Matter, VetriScience Labs (Apr. 3, 2015), (discussing the growing presence of breed-specific rescue groups and availability of purebred dogs available for adoption); Julia Morris, Breed Rescue, Petfinder,; Kim C. Thornton, Purebred Dog Adoption: Tips for Getting a Specific Breed, Huffington Post (May 31, 2012),; Rebecca J. Huss, Rescue Me: Legislation Cooperation Between Animal Control Authorities and Rescue Organizations, 39 Conn. L. Rev. 2059, 2086 (July 2007) (discussing breed-specific rescue organizations).

[159] 3 Am. Law. Zoning § 18:8 (5th ed.); Kenny, note 14 above, at 406.

[160] See Park Pet Shop, Inc. v. City of Chicago, 872 F.3d 495 (7th Cir. 2017) (court upheld Chicago’s ordinance banning sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits from large-scale commercial breeders against dormant commerce clause challenge); Perfect Puppy, Inc. v. City of East Providence, 98 F. Supp. 3d 408 (D.R.I. 2015) (court upheld city ordinance which prohibited retail establishments from selling cats and dogs over dormant commerce clause, substantive due process and equal protection challenges since rationally related to city’s legitimate interest in preventing inhumane treatment of animals and overpopulation); New York Pet Welfare Association, Inc. v. City of New York, 850 F.3d 79 (2d Cir. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S. Ct. 131, 199 L. Ed. 2d 34 (2017) (court upheld NYC sourcing law under dormant commerce clause, equal protection basis, and preemption challenges); Missouri Pet Breeders Association v. County of Cook, 119 F. Supp. 3d 865 (N.D. Ill. 2015) (court upheld pet shop sourcing law against commerce clause and equal protection challenges).