CHELSEA, Manhattan (WABC) -- Animal rights advocates are calling on New York Governor Kathy Hochul to sign a bill banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, instead promoting adoption and direct purchases from breeders.
"The Puppy Mill Pipeline legislation would allow retail stores to partner with area shelters like Bideawee and like ACC and rescues to adopt animals," Bideawee CEO and President Leslie Granger said.
Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, who sponsored the bill, other elected officials joined the advocates in Chelsea in calling for the signing of the recently-passed Puppy Mill Pipeline legislation.
"Female dogs that were executed, literally shot because they were incapable of giving birth any longer," he said. "Animals sitting in their own feces in small cages for days at a time. Awful, awful things. And there is not a single pet store that sells animals that is not touched by the puppy mill industry. That's why we should ban it outright. There is no such thing as a responsible retail sale of animals in New York."
Backers of the legislation say the proposal shuts down the "puppy mill-to-pet store" pipeline by stopping the sale of animals bred for pet stores.
It passed the State Senate in May and the State Assembly in June. In the Assembly, it was sponsored by Manhattan Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, who was also in attendance.
There are similar bills in California, Maryland and Illinois, but pet store owners are fierce opponents of such measures.
"I don't think people really understand what it feels like," CitiPups Chelsea manager Emilio Ortiz said. "Just because we work in a pet store, all of the sudden, just because of that, you get your dog from abusive breeders, your dogs are sick."
He said it's not as simple as saying pet store animals are bad.
"I personally go around the country making sure the (pet) parents are healthy," he said. "They're sensationalizing the worst examples of a pet store and saying every single one of them is like that. And now, they're pushing a bill that's going to put thousands of people out of a job."
One of those horrible examples happened on Long Island, where two pet stores were shut down by the attorney general in December for selling sick animals.
Ortiz said he's also trying to work with governor's office, which would only say that Hochul is reviewing the legislation.
"The battle to me is not adopting versus shopping," Ortiz said. "It's not between breeders and pet stores versus adoptions and pet stores. The battle is between responsible establishments and irresponsible establishments."
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