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The State of New York has clarified that businesses relating to the care of companion animals are declared essential and will be exempt from the shut-down order now in effect in the state to address concerns with the COVID-19 virus.

On Sunday, March 22, a clarification was issued by the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets to state that certain companion animal businesses and activities were exempt from the mandatory closure of businesses in the state.  Services that are exempt include the feed and care of animals in pet stores, pet food manufacturers and retailers, essential veterinary care, and pet boarding services.

Other services for animals may apply to the Empire State Development Agency to be included in the exemption.

You may view the full clarification statement from the Department here.

AKC thanks the State of New York for recognizing the essential need to continue to properly care for animals during this crisis.  We also greatly appreciate all New Yorkers who took the time to respond to AKC’s alert and contact their lawmakers this weekend on this important issue.  You made a difference for animals in the state!

AKC Government Relations continues to closely monitor all changing and evolving legislative issues during this pandemic.  For the latest information, visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center at