A first of its kind legislation will crack down on corrupt pet dealers in the state, giving New Yorkers more insight into the pets they hope to adopt.

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to regulate pet dealers and crack down on corrupt practices in the industry. The bill requires incorporated animal shelters, rescue organizations and other non-profit entities that transport or offer animals up for adoption in New York State to register with the Department of Agriculture and Markets, subjecting them to state regulation for the first time.

Potential pet owners should now have greater insight into the animals they hope to adopt, and these facilities will be subject to greater oversight and compliance, officials say.

"For too long, unscrupulous pet dealers have avoided proper oversight, and placed the health of pets under their care at risk in the name of profits," Cuomo said. "This legislation closes this loophole and creates a framework that allows regulation of these organizations and companies and creates peace of mind for pet owners."

According to the Governor’s Office, the old law allowed the Department of Agriculture and Markets to oversee and regulate animal shelters. However, the law exempts humane societies. Which allowed some dishonest businesses to avoid the stringent importation, inspection and documentation requirements set forth in New York's pet dealer regulations.

The businesses would then seek to sell pets as quickly as possible and housed their animals in unsafe and unsanitary conditions without adequate food or care, officials say.

“There are so many wonderful organizations that do incredible and valuable work to help animals, but unfortunately some not-so-great people have used this exemption as an excuse not to be regulated,” Senator Phil Boyle said. “The number of licensed pet dealers in New York has declined over the last 40 percent over the past five years showing just how troublesome this loophole really is.”

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