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The Town of Greenburgh, NY, is holding a public hearing on Wednesday, December 11, on a proposal that will prohibit retail pet stores from selling any dogs or cats.  Instead, they would only be allowed to “showcase” animals available for adoption from a shelter, rescue, or adoption agency.

Current state law requires that pet dealers (defined in part as anyone who sells more than 9 dogs a year that are not bred and raised on their property) must comply with extensive consumer protection laws.

However, shelters and rescues are exempt from this law.  As such, this proposal essentially removes a viable option for selecting a pet from the requirements that protect the health and welfare of dogs and enable consumers to know the health and background of the animal prior to sale.  The proposal would not apply to those selling or transferring dogs from the premises where they were bred and reared, so long as the premises is properly zoned.

The proposal also references state law that prohibits any local law from “essentially banning all sales of dogs or cats raised and maintained in a healthy and safe manner”.  While AKC appreciates the town’s recognition of this state law, the proposal makes the errant assumption that all pet stores keep their pets in inhumane conditions, and that they only source from substandard breeders.

Talking Points Against the Proposed Local Law:

  • Although this and similar measures are being touted as the ultimate solution to ending the problem of bad breeders, fewer than 4 percent of pets purchased in the US come from pet shops. This proposal will do little to address any issues associated with substandard breeders; however, it dramatically harms the option to choose a professionally- bred purpose-bred dog.
  • This proposal punishes responsible pet breeders and retailers who are regulated under federal and state laws, while encouraging the sale of pets that come from unlicensed and unregulated sources that are not subject to federal animal welfare or New York consumer protection laws.
  • This proposal will ban the sale of pets from known, regulated and inspected sources, and restrict pet shops to only sell pets from unregulated sources (i.e., shelters, rescues, and other similar organizations).
  • This proposal will reduce the average person’s access and ability to choose a pet with the predictable type, mandated care, and substantiated health background that come with purebred pets from regulated sources.  Individuals who lack the resources or do not have access to private hobby breeders will be the most directly impacted.

For additional talking points, read AKC’s position statement on Pet Choice, and the article Why Pet Shop Laws Affect You

What You Can Do:

The Greenburgh Town Board will hold a public hearing on this proposal on Wednesday, December 11, and then hold action for a future date.  We encourage residents to do the following:

  • Attend the public hearing and express your concerns with this proposal: 

    Greenburgh Town Board Meeting
    Wednesday, December 11, 2019
    7:30 pm
    177 Hillside Avenue
    Greenburgh, NY 10607
    If you wish to speak, please sign in with the Town Clerk prior to the beginning of the meeting. 

    Contact the Town Board and express your concerns with this proposal:

For more information on this proposal, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at