Last year, 30 percent of pet owners in the UA chose to adopt from shelters and rescues rather than purchasing a pet from a pet store, according to the ASPCA. The number of people opting for adoption is about to get higher in New York State after the State Senate approved a bill that would ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits.

New York State has one of the highest concentrations of pet stores selling puppies in the US, says Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. Currently, New York pet stores have thousands of puppies for sale, which are typically supplied from commercial breeding operations, known as puppy mills.

The NYS Senate is hoping that this bill will stop breeders at puppy mills from profiting from the mistreatment of dogs. "Shutting down the puppy mill to pet store pipeline cuts off a critical revenue source for puppy mill operators," says Stephen Wells, Executive Director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Puppy mills neglect to give dogs healthy food, clean water, basic veterinary care while being forced to live in wire crates. Unfortunately, these poor conditions negatively impact the health and behavior of these dogs later in life.

The bill was sponsored by Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and was widely supported by animal welfare groups such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Humane Society of the United States, New York State Animal Protection Federation and more. It has one more major hurdle before it can become law since the State Assembly has to vote on the bill next, and then can be signed into law.

"With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for puppy mills that abuse animals to supply pet stores. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities," said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the national pet adoption rate jumped 34 percent compared to the year before, according to Shelter Animals Count. If you are looking to adopt a pet in the New York area check out the ASPCAAnimal Care Centers of NYCThe Humane Society of New York and Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition. Another great resource, if you are looking to adopt or want to donate to an organization, is the Petfinder animal shelter search engine which helps you locate shelters near you.

Looking to adopt? Here's how to successfully adopt an animal.