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Governor Signs Legislation to Crack Down on Unscrupulous Pet Dealers

(Albany, NY) – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently signed legislation to regulate pet dealers and crack down on unscrupulous practices in this industry. The bill (S.5599/A.7195) requires incorporated animal shelters, rescue organizations and other non-profit entities that transport or offer animals up for adoption in New York State to register with the Department of Agriculture and Markets, subjecting them to state regulation for the first time. “For too long, unscrupulous pet dealers have avoided proper oversight, and placed the health of pets under their care at risk in the name of profits,” Governor Cuomo said. “This legislation closes this loophole and creates a framework that allows regulation of these organizations and companies and creates peace of mind for pet owners.”

NYS Senator Phil Boyle (R – Islip, NY) said, “There are so many wonderful organizations that do incredible and valuable work to help animals, but unfortunately some not-so-great people have used this exemption as an excuse not to be regulated. The number of licensed pet dealers in New York has declined over the last 40 percent over the past five years showing just how troublesome this loophole really is. This new law will require and ensure a measure of transparency to foster public trust that animals are getting the care they deserve. I applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this measure into law, and I’d like to thank the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the New York State Animal Protection Federation, and the New York State Veterinary Medical Society for their support on this important issue.”

The bill was sponsored in the Assembly by NYS Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D- New City, NY) who said, “Most rescue groups do a great job finding forever homes for needy animals. Unfortunately, there are also bad apples who skirt the law; bringing in sick animals in poor conditions into the state. These entities avoid pet dealer regulations by hiding under not for profit status. No more: New York will now close this loophole, regulate these entities, and better protect these needy animals. I’d like to thank Governor Cuomo for his swift action in signing this important measure into law.”

NYS Assemblyman Dean Murray (R – E. Patchogue, NY), who co-sponsored the bill in the Assembly, said, “We know that the majority of the rescue organizations and shelters are doing everything they can to help animals find a loving, caring, forever home and they do a wonderful job of caring for the animals until they do. However, prior to the passage of this bill, there were a handful of bad operators that were taking advantage of a loophole in the law to skirt their responsibilities of keeping these animals healthy and safe. I was proud to work with my colleagues, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, Senator Phil Boyle and the Suffolk County SPCA to close this loophole and ensure that the animals are cared for properly. I thank the Governor for signing this bill into law.” Chief Roy Gross of the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says this is a much needed fix to a very dangerous problem. Gross said, “The Suffolk County SPCA applauds the NY State Legislature and Gov. Cuomo for signing into law a bill requiring animal rescue groups to register with the state. Although there are many rescue groups that do an incredible job, unfortunately many unscrupulous so called rescue groups and dealers fail to protect the animals they care for.” Chief Gross added, “Over the years the Suffolk County SPCA has witnessed far too many unregulated establishments where animals are living in substandard conditions and are placed in risk. Animal suffering should not and will not be tolerated.”

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