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California Pet Stores Can Only Sell Shelter Animals Thanks To First-Of-Its-Kind State Law

In October of 2017, California Governor, Jerry Brown signed bill A.B. 485 into law, making it illegal for pet stores to sell dogs, cats, and rabbits from any source other than a shelter or rescue group. In order to allow business owners time to plan for the landmark change, the law was set to go into effect in 2019.

That deadline arrived with this week, making California the first U.S. state to effectively ban the sale of “puppy mill” dogs and “kitten factory” cats in pet stores.

The law allows private breeders to continue selling their animals independently. However, by cutting out the pet store middle-man, breeders will have less motive to churn out numerous puppies in poor conditions. The goal is to put inhumane breeding operations out of business while supporting reputable breeders who produce healthy, “purpose-bred” pets.

“This was California’s way of saying, ‘We don’t think it’s cool for commercial breeders to put more and more animals in the world who have a lot of health and behavior issues,” says Jack Hagerman, Vice President for Communications at the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA.

While rescue organizations and animal rights activists across the country see it as a victory, one major group opposes the law. A 2017 statement from the American Kennel Club (AKC) read, in part:

“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.”

Some California cities and counties have already begun to enforce the rescue-only rule at area pet stores. Now that the state law is officially in effect, fines of $500 per illegally sold animal will be imposed upon pet store owners who do not comply.

Other cities and counties across the United States have enacted similar laws, increasing the likelihood that more states will follow California’s lead. Maryland is set to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores come 2020 and the New Jersey state senate passed a bill that restricts newly licensed pet stores to selling only dogs and cats obtained from shelters.

What do you think of California’s pet store law? Will it help put an end to puppy mills and kitten factories, or end up doing more harm than good? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!


H/T to Cole & Marmalade & The New York Times

Featured Image via Facebook/The Humane Society of the United States

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