On Friday, October 13, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 485 banning pet store operators from selling dogs, cats, or rabbits unless they are obtained from a shelter or rescue. The law, that some argue will put pet stores out of business, is set to go into effect January 1, 2019. Supporters hope that closing off the pet store sales outlet will discourage the irresponsible breeders who operate puppy mills.
Stores that violate the legislation by selling non-rescue animals will face fines of $500.
According to the Humane Society, puppy mills supply a shocking 99% of dogs sold in pet stores in the U.S. and an estimated 1.5 million animals are euthanized across the country each year due to irresponsible breeding.
Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, who authored the bill and has two rescue dogs of his own, said the issue is “very personal” to him.
“This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course,” O’Donnell said in a statement Friday. “But also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters. I am very grateful for the strong support we received from animal-lovers across the state and from Social Compassion in Legislation, the bill’s sponsor.”
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Detractors say the measure is harmful to honest pet store proprietors because it does not require shelters and rescues to provide them with animals to sell. They also argue the bill will limit pet choices, although lovers of a particular breed will still have access to puppies from private breeders.
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230 cities across the country – including 36 in California – already have ordinances in place preventing the sale of “cruelly bred” animals at pet stores, but bill 485 makes California the first to spread these policies statewide.
Animal lovers and advocacy groups hope to see other states follow California’s lead. What do you think of this landmark decision? Tell us in the comments!
Featured Image via Petful.com via Flickr