NYC Council Hears Pleas to Cease Sale of Guinea Pigs from Pet Shops

NYC Council Hears Pleas to Cease Sale of Guinea Pigs from Pet Shops

Dozens of animal lovers on Wednesday warned the Metropolis Council of the hazards of an out-of-control guinea pig inhabitants, urging the physique to cross a stalled invoice.

The laws, from February, would prohibit pet retailers in New York Metropolis from promoting the favored fluffy rodents. Animal advocates have for years stated instituting this ban would assist stem the fast breeding that has overwhelmed shelters.

Risa Weinstock, the president and CEO of Animal Care Facilities of NYC (ACC), testified throughout Council’s well being committee listening to that the variety of guinea pigs introduced into the nonprofit group’s shelters has practically tripled for the reason that begin of the pandemic.

Earlier than the pandemic, ACC took in a mean of roughly 300 guinea pigs annually. However within the final 30 months — coinciding with the pandemic — that quantity has reached practically 900, in response to ACC knowledge. 

“Many individuals mistake guinea pigs as nice starter pets,” Weinstock stated — however then they understand the tiny animals eat plenty of meals and want a gradual provide of contemporary fruit and veggies, which will be expensive. 

“When ACC counsels adopters on the care and desires of any pet, we at all times be sure they perceive the dedication concerned — whatever the pet’s measurement,” she added. “Simply because a guinea pig is small doesn’t imply it doesn’t require in depth care.”

Two guinea pigs reside of their cage at Petco in Union Sq., Dec. 14, 2022.

Most people who testified have expertise with rescuing and caring for animals inside and outdoors of town. 

Dr. Ellen Crain, who co-founded the Protected Haven Farm Sanctuary within the mid-Hudson Valley along with her husband, testified that her sanctuary has acquired a “super” variety of requests for them to soak up small animals.

The animals “have been introduced within the metropolis to entertain youngsters whereas they have been residence” throughout COVID, she informed Council members. “Now the household is ‘drained’ of the animal — and so they usually use these phrases.”

Pet Store Boys

The one one who testified on behalf of sellers stated the ban is pointless and unfairly made pet shops out to be the villains. 

“This brings one thing to pet retailers that we expect is wholly pointless — that’s an air of antagonism and a mindset that pet retailers are one way or the other culprits in want of punishment, fairly than companions in pet care,” stated Mike Bober, ​​the president and CEO of Pet Advocacy Community, which represents store homeowners.

“We need to work with town on this,” Bober stated.

He stated his group shared issues about pet-owner training and desires the animals to be properly cared-for — and famous gross sales of guinea pigs are already reducing. 

“The numbers that got here by in 2020 and early 2021 have tapered off,” he informed the Council. 

The invoice can be voted on at a future listening to, relying on scheduling, in response to Councilmember Lynn Schulman (D-Queens), the chair of the well being committee. She informed THE CITY she expects it to cross primarily based on the help of 34 members who’ve already signed on to it. 

“I heard from my district quite a bit,” Schulman stated, noting that guinea pigs have been being dumped in parks and different locations across the metropolis, which involved her Forest Hills constituents. 

Advocates stated they hope {that a} gross sales ban will provide reduction for town’s overwhelmed animal shelters. And anybody who needs a guinea pig would nonetheless be capable of undertake one at a shelter.

There’s already precedent. Earlier this yr, the state legislature handed the “Pet Mill Pipeline” invoice, which might ban the sale of canine, cats, and rabbits from shops. It nonetheless awaits Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature.

New York Metropolis already banned the sale of rabbits in 2014. And in 1999, town made the possession of ferrets unlawful after the well being division declared them carriers of rabies and susceptible to committing “vicious, unprovoked assaults.”

 

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