New York City Council Passes Ordinance 55


New York, N.Y., December 17, 2014 – Ordinance 55 was just voted into law to amend the administrative code of NYC with the purpose of regulating pet shops. The New York City Council voted 49 – 2 to pass the ordinance on December 17th along with three other ordinances that will positively impact companion animals. Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) President Deborah Howard and General Counsel John Maher testified in support of the bill. The national nonprofit played a vital role in providing statistical proof that retail pet stories in NYC sell puppies sourced from puppy mills with USDA violations. Ordinance 55 and Ordinance 73 (which updates the definition of “pet shop” within the animal abuse registration act) significantly improve and strengthen the NYC Retail Pet Sales Law, placing tougher restrictions on pet shops in NYC. Other related amendments regarding microchipping (Ordinance 136) and spay and neutering (Ordinance 146) requirements for animals sold in pet shops were also voted into law.

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito reads Ordinance 55 before the vote.

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal and CAPS General Counsel John Maher after the vote by the New York City Council to pass Ordinance 55.

Key Changes:

  • All pet shops have to obtain an operating permit issued by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The stores could face a $500 fine for selling animals prohibited pursuant to this ordinance.
  • All pet shops must get their dogs and cats directly from a breeder licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture.
  • The law prohibits the sale of dogs and cats obtained from USDA licensed breeders if their publicly available USDA inspection reports indicate any of the following:
  1. one or more direct non-compliant items during the past three years;
  2. on either of the two most recent inspection reports, a citations for failing to provide USDA inspectors access to property or records;
  3. on the most recent inspection report, three or more non-compliant item citations, other than a citation for failure to provide USDA inspectors access to property or records; or
  4. one or more repeat non-compliant items on the most recent inspection report.
  • Pet shops have to provide customers and potential customers all pertinent information (including the breeder’s USDA inspection reports and medical history) about the dogs and cats for sale.
  • Stricter rules for pet shops, including stringent standards of care and required detailed record keeping of animal’s condition.

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