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New York City to Consider Mandatory Sterilization, Other Restrictions on Pet Sales on April 30

April 25, 2014

The New York City Council Committee on Health is scheduled to consider several measures on Wednesday, April 30, that create excessive restrictions on all breeders or pet shops who sell a pet.

Among the many new requirements for those selling animals to the public is a mandate that any animal that would reside in New York City be sterilized prior to sale.

Those who reside or participate in dog events in New York City are strongly urged to contact the members of the New York City Council Committee on Health, and also attend the hearing on April 30 to oppose this measure that could have harmful impacts on the health of dogs and violates the rights of responsible New York City breeders and dog owners.

Scroll down for hearing and contact information.


The Committee on Health is scheduled to consider four measures that would create new requirements for “pet stores.” In each measure, the definition of “pet store” refers to anyone who resides in New York City and sells, exchanges, or offers to sell pet animals to the general public at retail for profit except “full service shelters or other animal shelters that make dogs and cats available for adoption.” This new definition of pet store is extremely broad and could easily impact a person who sells even one dog.

The bills scheduled for consideration include:

Introduction No. 136 – All who meet the definition of pet store are required to have animals sterilized prior to transfer to the new owner. This includes dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, or any other animals designated by the Department of Health. Dogs or cats must be 8 weeks of age before they are sterilized. Exceptions are made if there is a letter from a veterinarian stating why the animal cannot be sterilized at that time. Any such letter would be valid for only four months. If a letter is provided to the customer, it is the responsibility of the seller to ensure the customer has the animal sterilized by the date indicated in the letter.

Anyone selling a pet must also require the new owners to complete paperwork and pay for a New York City dog license. Sellers would be responsible for submitting the application and payment to the Department of Health. At least once a month, “pet shops” must provide a report to the Department that lists the animals sold, the name and address of the purchaser, and the license number if known.

Pet sellers are exempted only if they have a statement in writing that the animal will not be kept in the New York City.

The AKC opposes this bill. The broad definition of pet store could prevent someone residing in New York City from purchasing an intact dog from a responsible NYC breeder or hobbyist. Also, new scientific studies increasingly demonstrate that juvenile sterilization has long-term harmful impacts on the health of the animal. Sterilization is matter appropriately left to an owner in consultation with their veterinarian.

Talking Points for Introduction No. 136:

Introduction No. 55 – This measure would require all “pet shops” (those transferring one or more dogs) to comply with basic standards of care and a variety of other requirements, including keeping records for five years and providing a document signed by a veterinarian stating that either the animal has no congenital or hereditary defects, or that states that there were no known defects at the time of sale.

Those who meet the definition of pet store would also be prohibited from selling dogs from a “high volume breeder”, defined as someone who has an ownership interest in one or more female dogs and sells or offers to sell more than 50 dogs in a year, or someone who has an ownership interest in or custody of at least 20 female dogs.

An additional provision would require having a veterinarian make regular visits to the premises to check on the animals' condition. With the broad definition of pet shop, the AKC is concerned that this requirement may not be reasonable for home-based breeders and hobbyists.

Other measures scheduled for consideration include a bill that would require “pet stores” to check the city's animal abuse registry to ensure the potential customer is not a registered animal abuser and a bill that would require all animals to be microchipped prior to sale.

What You Can Do:

Attend the Council hearing on April 30. Ask the members to oppose Introduction No. 136 and express any comments or concerns you have with the other legislation scheduled for consideration.

New York City Council Committee on Health
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
1:00 p.m.
Committee Room, City Hall
City Hall Park (City Hall and 250 Broadway)
New York City, NY

Contact the members of the Committee on Health. Ask the members to oppose Introductory File 136 and express any comments or concerns you have with the other legislation scheduled for consideration. Click on each name for district, City Hall, and e-mail contact information:

Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair (District 3, Manhattan)

Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo (District 17, Bronx)

Council Member Rosie Mendez (District 2, Manhattan)

Council Member Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn)

Council Member Peter Koo (District 20, Queens)

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens)

Council Member Inez Barron (District 42, Brooklyn)

Council Member Robert Cornegy (District 36, Brooklyn)

Council Member Rafael Espinal (District 37, Brooklyn)

AKC Government Relations will continue to closely monitor this issue and provide more information as it becomes available. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or