Wonderful news! California has banned pet stores from selling pet mill animals. As of January 2019, they can only sell rescue animals. This is a huge win for helping to rid the state of puppy mills.
“Beginning in January 2019, California pet stores will only be able to sell puppies, rabbits, and kittens they obtain from animal shelters and rescue centers. If they don’t, they’ll face a $500 fine. California residents will still have the option to purchase their pets from individual breeders, according to The New York Times. Though California is the first state to pass this kind of legislation, it is following a precedent set by many of its cities and counties, which have enacted similar regulations. The law received support from animal welfare activists, who have long been concerned about the conditions animals face before being sold to pet stores. A fact sheet written by the California legislature claimed that in many cases puppy mills house animals in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate food, water, socialization or veterinary care.” – from ajc.com
California spends an astronomical $250 million a year on euthanizing shelter animals, which they hope to cut down on. I’m all for saving money, but it seems to me that the important thing here is cutting down on the euthanizations. The bill went into effect on January 1, 2019. Here is an except from the bill, which you can read in full here.
“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.”
As you may know, puppy mills (also kitten factories) are a huge problem, with my home state of Missouri topping the “Horrible Hundred” list of 2018 for their 6th year in a row. I will defend Missouri (somewhat) by saying that it has been said that the reason Missouri is the worst offender is because the best records are kept on their puppy mills. There may be other states that are just as bad or even worse, but all their mills have not been found or documented.
“Missouri continues to have the largest number of puppy mills in the report, for the sixth year in a row (23), followed by Ohio (13), Iowa (10), and Pennsylvania (nine). Kansas and Wisconsin each have eight dealers in the report. Nebraska and New York each have six.”
Dogs (and cats, bunnies, etc) raised in these mills are over-crowded in cages, not given proper medical care, and live in generally wretched conditions. The owners are interested only in making money by selling their litters, and definitely not interested in the welfare of the animals.
“Over the 12 month period since we published our last report, USDA inspectors have continued to find conditions just as horrific as those in our prior reports, including dogs with open wounds, emaciated dogs with their ribs and spines showing, and dogs with moldy food, dirty water and filthy cages.” – from the Horrible Hundred report
In researching information about this new law, I came across a poll asking readers if all pet stores should be limited to selling rescue animals. I am shocked by the amount of people who said no. The poll asked for comments on why each person voted the way they did, but there were no comments. I am thinking that perhaps they think that legitimate breeders should be allowed to sell in the pet stores.
So let’s run our own poll, and please DO comment why you said yes or no. (Look in the right sidebar for the poll, but comment at the end of this post.)
I can’t help but think of all the dogs and cats that are in California shelters that will get a chance to be seen and adopted in the pet stores. Makes me want to do the happy dance for them!