In this Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 photo a young visitor pets a kitten for adoption at an event held by the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA at CatCon 2017 in Pasadena, Calif.AP Photo/Richard Vogel Beginning in January 2019, California pet stores will only be able to sell puppies, rabbits, and kittens they obtain from animal shelters and rescue centers. If they don't, they'll face a $500 fine. California residents will still have the option to purchase their pets from individual breeders, according to The New York Times.
Though California is the first state to pass this kind of legislation, it is following a precedent set by many of its cities and counties, which have enacted similar regulations. But pet store owners fear the law will threaten their already-struggling businesses. "Their heart is in the right place, but their thinking is a little shortsighted," pet store owner Boris Jang told The New York Times. While he gets about half of the dogs he sells from shelters or rescue centers, he fears the law will make him unable to pay his lease.
Mike Bober, president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, expressed similar feelings toward the law, saying it is "well-intentioned but misguided" in a recent video. He also believes the law could threaten the jobs of pet store owners and their employees. The law received support from animal welfare activists, who have long been concerned about the conditions animals face before being sold to pet stores.
A fact sheet written by the California legislature claimed that "in many cases, puppy mills house animals in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate food, water, socialization or veterinary care," and that animals raised in these conditions "often face an array of health problems." The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals echoed this sentiment in a recent post on its blog, writing: "This law demonstrates how legislative action on animal welfare in general can advance from the local level to the state level, furthering the hope of creating a culture that values compassion over cruelty.
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California will become the first state ever to require pet stores to sell rescue animals after legislation was signed on Friday by Governor Jerry Brown. By 2019, pet stores will have to legally sell dogs, cats and rabbits from shelters or adoption centers. If the new law is not followed, pet stores can be charged $500 for each animal that is not a rescue animal, the Los Angeles Times reported. “This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course," said bill author Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) in a statement.
Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now The bill, AB 485, is focused on reducing the number of animals in “puppy mills” and “kitten factories,” which are mass breeding operations that can severely harm the animals. O’Donnell said that California taxpayers spend more than $250 million a year to house and euthanize animals in shelters and that the new law could lower that expense.
ASPCA president and CEO Matt Bershadker told BuzzFeed in an email that his organization was proud to have worked with O'Donnell on the bill and thanked the California legislature for passing it. "This landmark law breaks the puppy mill supply chain that pushes puppies into California pet stores and has allowed unscrupulous breeders to profit from abusive practices," Bershadker said. While many are happy with the bill’s passing, there are animal advocates who are not in favor of the bill.
The bill faced a lot of criticism from the American Kennel Club and the California Retailers Association. "AB 485 blocks all of California’s pet lovers from having access to professional, licensed, and ethical commercial breeders,” Sheila Goffe, vice president of government relations for the American Kennel Club, told the LA Times. “This is not good for Californians or their companion animals.
” The Humane Society says that puppy mills can contribute to pet overpopulation and “can cause countless dogs lifetimes of suffering in squalid wire cages.” Puppies sold at pet stores can also have serious psychological and health problems. According to the ASPCA, there are approximately 6.5 million animals that enter shelters around the country every year. Shelters are reported to have euthanized 1.
5 million of their animals annually.