Who can resist the sweet face of a tiny fuzzy puppy in a pet store window? Their big eyes and tiny paws pressed against the glass just scream,”Take me home with you!” And while any animal lover would willingly scoop up one of those tiny bundles of joy, what many people don’t realize is that in so doing, they’re supporting puppy mills.

These mass-breeding facilities treat the dogs in their care like breeding machines. The dogs are given minimal, if any, care and are often filthy, starving and abused. The puppies who are born in these horrible places are sent to stock pet stores across the country, and the profits from their sale fuel the continual abuse of other breeding dogs. It’s a truly heartbreaking cycle.

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But there is good news for New York City pups! Mayor Bill DeBlasio has just enacted a bill into law that prohibits NYC pet stores from purchasing puppies from commercial puppy brokers or USDA-licensed breeders with severe Animal Welfare Act Violations. The law will go into effect this month!

According Brian Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States, “New York City pet stores sell more puppies than any other city in the country. The passage of this ordinance signals a rising interest in cracking down on the puppy mill industry nationwide.”

Keeping dogs in such abusive conditions is absolutely unacceptable, especially when the consumers who purchase puppies in pet stores are unaware of what they are supporting.

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While this law is an incredible step in the right direction, it does not mean that puppy mills are a thing of the past. In the pet store industry, dogs will always be viewed as a commodity and as such their welfare does not come first. There are millions of healthy, adoptable animals waiting for homes in shelters and the pet store industry not only prevents these needy animals from finding a forever home, but also perpetuates the idea that dogs and cats can be bought and sold like inanimate objects.

Many pet stores have given up the practice of selling dogs from breeders all together and collaborate with shelters and rescues to help find needy animals homes. We can only hope that this will be the next step for NYC pet stores!

Image source: Daniel Stockman/Flickr

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