In state measure AB485, signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown, retail pet stores are now banned from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits that do not come from shelters and rescue organizations. Thirty six cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco already had similar bans in place, but this will extend the ban to be state wide. Direct sales by private breeders will still be allowed.
Retail animal sales will only be relegated to animals that have come from animal shelters and rescue organizations. Animal welfare activists applaud the law as it is aimed to stop the flow of animals from cruel puppy mill and cattery mass breeding operations where animals are bred in often appalling and abusive conditions. By offering only rescue animals for sale, the law is designed to also alleviate overcrowded shelters and overtaxed not for profit animal rescue organizations.
The puppy mill ban legislation was celebrated by the Social Compassion In Legislation animal welfare group and co-sponsor of the legislation in the following public statement from the groups founder and CEO, Judie Mancuso:
“We are overjoyed with the Governor’s signature and broad support from the entire animal-loving community for this groundbreaking legislation. In banning the sale of mill-bred animals, California took a bold step forward. The deplorable conditions that animals suffer in these high-volume breeding facilities are not a secret and now they have a champion in California.”
Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, praised the law for breaking “the puppy mill supply chain that pushes puppies into California pet stores and has allowed unscrupulous breeders to profit from abusive practices.”
True to form, the American Kennel Club criticized the legislation publicly opining that it will strip pet owners of pet store protections, will risk the loss of hundreds of jobs, and will reduce pet choice. Translation: the AKC will get less checks for bogus “papers” that they provide for puppy mill peddlers to give a false air of credibility to traffickers in animal cruelty and unethical breeding. From my perspective in my knowledge of the AKC and what a money grubbing, useless and soulless organization that it has become, their opposition to the law says more about its merit than its flaws.
I am not so naive to think that this law is perfect and there will not be loopholes or room for unscrupulous people to find a way to use it to their advantage and not within the spirit of its intent. However, it is a very big step in the right direction where our nation’s most populous state made a bold statement against the cruel puppy mill and cattery industry.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.