Democrats in Albany are looking to ban "puppy mills" that breed dogs and cats to display in the windows of pet stores. And with Democrats now in control of both houses, the bill is expected to pass.
"The animals that are sold in pet stores are, for the most part, produced through puppy mills, where there are abject horrible conditions," said New York State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, one of the sponsors of the bill.
The bill's sponsors got an assist Friday from actor Edie Falco, who has been active in state politics and is herself a big animal lover.
"This is Sammy, Sammy has been a part of my life eight or nine years now. But the first two years of her life were spent living in a box," Falco said at a press conference.
Falco and supporters of the puppy mill legislation hope the bill will change the behavior of consumers and force people into rescuing animals from shelters.
But pet store owners say it unfairly targets them. In a statement, an industry group -- People United to Protect Pet Integrity -- say, "We know that legislation like this will put hundreds of pet stores out of business, cost the state millions of dollars in tax revenue, and potentially thousands of jobs."
"My understanding is the actual revenue from the sale of animals is a very small percentage of what these stores do,” said New York State Senator Michael Gianaris. “Most of it is from products that service animals that are in homes already, but all that being said, even if there was some consequence, it doesn't justify cruelty to animals."
The bill has been introduced in both houses of the legislature. New York would not be leading the way on this issue; California has already passed a similar law. Lawmakers in Albany have until June to pass it.