New Law Will Only Allow Pet Stores To Sell Rescued Animals


People will stop at nothing when it comes to fighting animal cruelty. They have worked tirelessly to shut down puppy mills, stop unlicensed breeders and to put an end to inhumane animal operations. At the same time, customers are willing to spend outrageous money for a purebred puppy but when it comes to considering the places where they get them, they often turn a blind eye.


There is a new law in California that promises to put a large dent in this. It is only going to allow pet stores to sell rescued 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.

To break it down in simpler terms, if pet store owners are not selling puppies, kittens or rabbits from a rescue shelter and continue using the other suppliers, they could be fined $500. This new law was due to kick in on January 1, 2019.

It is hoped that people will choose to rescue an animal that would otherwise be stuck in a shelter for months or perhaps even years. You are hearing the saying ‘adopt, don’t shop’ more frequently and this is one way to move the needle in that direction.

7.6 million animals end up in the shelter every year and 2.7 million are euthanized because of a lack of space. High kill shelters in the United States are still one of the more common options so if we don’t have as many animals in the shelter, then those numbers may just go down.

Most people are happy about this type of law but some are concerned about potential repercussions.

“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.”

It seems as if they had all of the right intentions when it came to passing this law. If these types of regulations are not in place, then pet stores will continue to offer purebred dogs that are from puppy mills.



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