Pet Shops Rules - Article 161(Animals) and Article 5 (Permits) of the NYC Health Code

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Effective Date: 
Monday, July 18, 2016
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 


Statement of Basis and Purpose

 

Statutory Authority

These amendments to the New York City Health Code (the “Health Code”) are authorized by sections 558 and 1043 of the New York City Charter (the “Charter”).  Sections 558(b) and (c) of the Charter empower the Board of Health (the “Board”) to amend the Health Code and to include in the Health Code all matters to which the authority of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (the “Department”) extends. Section 1043 grants the Department rulemaking authority. 

 

Background

 

The Department’s Bureau of Veterinary and Pest Control Services enforces Health Code Article 161 pertaining to the control of animals in the City.  Article 161 currently requires pet shops other than those selling dogs and cats to have permits and to comply with other provisions of the Health Code.  The N.Y. State Agriculture and Markets Law Article 26-A (“Care of Animals by Pet Dealers”) formerly prohibited local regulation of “pet dealers,” defined in such State law as an entity that sells more than nine animals (dogs and/or cats) to the public per year. See Agriculture and Markets Law §§400 subdivisions (1) and (4) and 400-a.  Effective January 10, 2014, this law was amended and a new §407 authorizes local regulation of these entities, provided that the local law is no less stringent than Article 26-A or effectively results in banning of all sales of dogs or cats “raised and maintained in a healthy and safe manner.”

 

On January 17, 2015, Local Law 5 of 2015 was enacted, and on June 2, 2015 was further amended by Local Law 53. Read together, Title 17 of the New York City Administrative Code now authorizes the Department to regulate pet shops selling dogs and cats, and Administrative Code § 17-372 requires such pet shops to hold permits issued by the Commissioner of the Department.  The law was to have become effective June 1, 2015, but was stayed on that date as a result of a challenge in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of New York by certain pet shops and animal dealers. On October 20, 2015 it was upheld by the court and is therefore now in effect. An appeal filed after publication of the notice of intention to amend the Health Code is currently pending.   

 

The Board of Health is amending provisions of Article 161 that explicitly state that they are not applicable to sales of dogs and cats by pet dealers regulated under Article 26-A of the Agriculture and Markets Law, since pet shops selling these animals are again being regulated by the Department.  Pet shops selling only animals other than dogs and/or cats continue to be regulated by the Department and none of these amendments substantively affect those pet shops. In conjunction with these amendments, the permit fees and expiration dates set forth in Health Code Article 5 are also amended to be consistent with the fees set forth in the new Administrative Code  §17-374.