California Passes Law That Pet Stores Only Sell Rescues
17 October, 2017
California passed a law on Friday that requires pet stores to only sell cats and dogs that are rescues. The bill’s goal is to reduce the number of animals sold through shelters and businesses from mass breeding operations known as “puppy mills” or “kitten factories.” California is the first state to pass this law.
Individuals can still buy from private breeders. But beginning in January 2019, it will be illegal for stores to do so.
The bill, A.B. 485, had strong support from several animal welfare organizations, which cheered it as a blow to “puppy mills” and “kitten factories” that mass produce animals for sale, often in inhumane conditions. It was written by two California Assembly members, Patrick O’Donnell and Matt Dababneh, both Democrats, and signed into law on Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown.
California is the first state to pass such legislation, though it is following dozens of its own cities and jurisdictions, which have passed similar measures.
“Because pet stores are one step removed from the breeding of the animals they sell, store owners rarely know the breeding conditions of their animals,” a fact sheet for the legislation said. “In many cases, puppy mills house animals in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate food, water, socialization or veterinary care.”
There are many opponents to the measure, including the American Kennel Club
Opponents of the measure argued that the bill painted large “puppy mills” and responsible backyard dog breeders with the same broad brush.
The American Kennel Club is standing up against the first-of-its-kind statewide ban and released a statement directly opposing the new law.
“It not only interferes with individual freedoms, it also increases the likelihood that a person will obtain a pet that is not a good match for their lifestyle and the likelihood that that animal will end up in a shelter,” the organization said in a statement.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, a national advocacy group, called it “well-intentioned but misguided” in a video last month, adding that it would jeopardize hundreds of jobs.
The ban on for – profit pet stores has been going on for years in California.
But the number of for-profit pet stores in California had been dwindling long before this bill was signed.
The bill officially takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Anyone who violates the new law after that date faces penalties as high as $500 per pet.