Nassau legislator, rescue group call for temporary suspension of pet sales

Pet stores have been deemed essential during the COVID-19 crisis, but animal advocates are calling for their temporary closure.
The stores remain open so that people can purchase pet food and accessories, but the sale of pets is also still allowed.
Nassau County Legislator Jon Ferretti says that's an issue and sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo calling for the suspension of the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits. He says scientists have been unable to confirm if animals can transfer the virus to humans.
On Wednesday, a study published in the journal "Science" said cats can become infected with the virus, but dogs don't appear to be vulnerable. The study prompted the World Health Organization to take a close look at animal-to-human transmission.
Pet store owner Marc Morrone says pet food is his main business right now and pet sales are not that important. He says a temporary ban is not needed.
"There are plenty of household pets out there right now where you really don't have to worry about people buying new ones," says Morrone.
Animal rescue groups are also concerned about people this time of year buying rabbits, chickens and baby ducks, and when they don't want them any more, abandoning them in parks and waterways.
John Di Leonardo, of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, says his group has rescued 22 ducks over the past 10 days and also worries about a trend of baby chicken purchases that could lead to mass abandonments.
"With people panic buying these baby chickens, not realizing that they can't lay eggs for the first six months of their lives, we are gearing up for an incredibly tough rescue season," says Di Leonardo.