For years, people have been fighting to try and end puppy mills, unlicensed breeders, and other inhumane animal operations. Customers will spend a ton of money getting a pure-bred puppy, but they choose to look the other way when it comes to the conditions of the places they get them from.
However, a new law in California is aiming to stop this, and will only allow pet stores to sell rescue animals. Bill AB-485 reads as follows:
This bill would prohibit, on and after January 1, 2019, a pet store operator from selling a live dog, cat, or rabbit in a pet store unless the dog, cat, or rabbit was obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group, as defined, that is in a cooperative agreement with at least one private or public shelter, as specified.
The bill would require all sales of dogs and cats authorized by this provision to be in compliance with laws requiring the spaying or neutering of animals, as specified.
The bill would require each pet store to maintain records sufficient to document the source of each dog, cat, or rabbit the pet store sells or provides space for, for at least one year, and to post, in a conspicuous location on the cage or enclosure of each animal, a sign listing the name of the entity from which each dog, cat, or rabbit was obtained, and would authorize public animal control agencies or shelters to periodically require pet stores engaged in sales of dogs, cats, or rabbits to provide access to those records.
The bill would make a pet store operator who violates these provisions subject to a civil penalty of $500, as specified. The bill would also exempt a pet store operator who is subject to these provisions from certain requirements relating to the retail sale of dogs and cats, except as specified.
In other words, if pet store owners don't sell puppies, kittens, or rabbits from rescue shelters, and continue using other suppliers, they can face a fine of $500. This law goes into effect on January 1st, 2019.
The hope is that people will choose to rescue an animal who would otherwise be stuck in a shelter for who knows how long. The saying "adopt, don't shop" has been rising in popularity, and this is just one of the ways we can help.
Over 7.6 million animals enter shelters each year, and sadly approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized each year due to lack of space. There are a large number of high-kill shelters in America, so if we can limit the number of animals in a shelter, the hope is that this number will go down as well.
While most people are thrilled at the idea of a law like this one, some are concerned about the potential downfalls.
"I fear people aren't putting enough thought into the unintended consequences of such a law," Spencer wrote on Twitter. "This could potentially benefit puppy mills and other such businesses since they will become the only places to find certain breeds/varieties. I'm just pointing out that what looks good on paper often has multiple unintended consequences that could potentially outweigh any good intentions."
"Great if it works," Khrysse wrote. "Pet stores aren't equipped or staffed to care for rescue animals. Many rescues have special needs, that requires more than a cage and food. Can/will a pet store provide care and place the rescue into proper a home. Seems like many animals will be left behind."
"Awful!" Sue exclaimed. "Yes, rescue animals are in need of forever homes...but they are only reuse animals because of irresponsible humans. Responsible dog breeders and dog owners get penalized because of them! Some owners are looking for particular breeds for good reasons."
Personally, I think this is a step in the right direction. Without regulations like this, there is nothing stopping pet stores from only bringing in pure-bred dogs that they think are more likely to sell.