NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed sweeping, animal-friendly legislation on Thursday..
The legislation, dubbed the Puppy Mill Pipeline bill by supporters, bans the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits bred under inhumane conditions.
It would ban pet stores from selling animals supplied by abusive breeders, or puppy mills. The bill would instead encourage the adoption of dogs and cats from rescue shelters.
The legislation would include an agreement that delays it taking effect for two years, allowing shelters to set up spaces in existing pet stores to facilitate adoptions.
The concession comes amid concerns from pet stores that the legislation could effectively end them in the state.
The legislation's intent is to prevent the buying and selling of animals from large-scale breeders - which traditionally lack proper veterinary care, food or socialization.
"Female dogs were executed, literally shot because they were incapable of giving birth any longer," Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, who sponsored the bill earlier this year, 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," he added.
The bill's sponsor has said it would allow breeders to sell directly to customers, stressing any pet store not buying from abusive sources would not have to close up shop.
There are similar bills in California, Maryland and Illinois, but pet store owners are fierce opponents of such measures. They say the bill is too broad and could close their businesses.
Gov. Hochul's signing comes just a few days after an illegal puppy mill in the Tri-state was shut down.
Two women were found with stacks of animal crates, filled with 135 dogs and 45 cats. They were arrested in Brick Township, New Jersey.