In what will become a significant blow to commercial pet breeders, generally referred to as the puppy mill industry, California pet stores will be required to get their puppies, kittens and rabbits from rescue organizations and shelters. Beginning in January 2019, only individuals will be able to purchase pets from private breeders. For pet stores, violators could face fines of $500 per offense.
On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed the law covering the entire state; 36 cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco, already have similar bans against large commercial breeding operations. The bill, A.B.485 has had strong support from animal welfare organizations and was written by Patrick O’Donnell and Matt Dababneh, two Democratic California Assembly members.
Arguments for the ban included how pet stores rarely know nor do they reveal the circumstances relative to the breeding of the dogs, cats and rabbits brought into their stores for retail sale. Puppy and kitten mills have long lists of inhumane conditions as to overcrowding, lack of care, lack of socialization and the very basics of humane care.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council has opposed the legislation, claiming the new law would jeopardize hundreds of jobs. Pet stores, however have been dwindling in numbers for the past few years as public awareness of puppy mills draws the ire of animal advocates across the country. Still some pet store owners argue the ban prevents consumers from having their choice of purchasing a specific breed or simply not purchasing “someone else’s unwanted pet.”
“By cutting off the puppy mill pipeline that moves cruelly bred animals from across the country into California pet stores, A.B.485 will also help prevent California consumers from being duped into purchases that contribute to unconscionable animal ‘production’ and suffering,” the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said in a statement.
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(Photo of puppy mill operation via HSUS)
Check out how dogs live in puppy mills: