New Overwhelming Documentation of New York Pet Stores Selling Cruelly Bred Puppies
Two New York pet stores–Teacup Pup and Astoria Pets in Queens–were recently shipped puppies from one of the most notorious puppy suppliers in the country, and we have the documentation from the state of Iowa showing the transactions.
This latest information adds to the mountain of evidence that demonstrates why New York must do more to protect animals. Governor Hochul must act swiftly to sign the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill and stop cruel, out-of-state commercial breeders from profiting in New York.
The documentation, including photographs and video, was obtained from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Iowa Department of Agriculture through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. They detail the conditions of Henry Sommers’ Iowa puppy mill and the dogs in his facility:
- Lack of veterinary care–reports from September 2014 through August 2022 detail a failure to seek medical treatment for dogs with dental disease and eye wounds. Many violations were labeled as direct or critical, which are considered serious or life-threatening.
- Possession of controlled substances–documents show Sommers possessed controlled substances at his facility that he used to sedate or euthanize dogs. He was conducting euthanasia himself without authorization or recommendation of a veterinarian. Reports suggest he may be killing his dogs in a manner likely to inflict prolonged and painful death.
- Repeat violations for inadequate and dangerous housing–dogs were kept in enclosures that were too small, have exposed and pointed wires, flooring that allows dogs’ feet to be trapped. Sommers has been repeatedly cited for failing to maintain a sanitary environment, with the strong smell of waste and lack of ventilation.
Despite this horrific track record, Sommers remains in business, breeding and shipping puppies to Teacup Pup and Astoria Pets in Queens to be sold to unsuspecting New Yorkers.
In June 2022, the New York Legislature overwhelmingly passed the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill to end the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, making it harder for commercial puppy suppliers like Sommers to profit in New York State.
Governor Hochul has yet to sign this bill into law. The few remaining retailers in New York who sell puppies are urging the Governor to veto the bill. They argue that without the sale of mass-produced, cruelly bred puppies—which they sell to New Yorkers for thousands of dollars—their profitability will suffer.