A controversial bill currently awaiting a decision by Governor Kathy Hochul has animal rights groups and the pet store industry barking at each other about whether pets stores should be allowed to sell dogs, cats and rabbits.

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The bill, which has passed both the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate, would prohibit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits by retail pet shops and authorize collaboration with entities to provide space to showcase cats or dogs owned by certain entities for the purpose of adoption.

According to a report by Luis Ferre-Sadurni of the New York Times, animal rights groups and lobbyists for the pet store industry have been campaigning hard for each side of the bill, even going so far as to have Zoom meetings with Governor Hochul's staff.

The bill is meant to curb puppy mills and kitten factories, which have a reputation of mistreating or neglecting animals as their sole focus is breeding and selling.

Jennie Lintz, the puppy mill initiative director at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, stated "We know what it looks like when animals don't get that care and certainly, from photos and documentation of what these facilities look like, that is not happening. New York remains one of the largest markets for these commercial facilities, so the bill could have not just an impact here, but across the country."

Mike Bober, the president and chief executive of the Pet Advocacy Network, stated "Let's not pretend that there aren't people out there who are doing this the wrong way, but they are few and far between. We're deeply offended and frustrated by the fact that people willingly and intentionally misrepresent the state of breeding in the country."

Lobbyists for the pet store industry have argued that this bill would likely put them out of business, as huge portions of their revenue comes from the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits. However, the bill would allow pet stores to work with shelters and rescue organizations to sell the animals.

Governor Hochul has until the end of the year to sign the bill into law.

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