California could soon require pet stores sell only rescue animals

By Ray Downs  |  Sept. 15, 2017 at 12:13 AM
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Sept. 14 (UPI) -- California could become the first state to ban puppy mills after lawmakers passed a law this week that prohibits the sales of some pets from mass breeders.

The legislation, which unanimously passed the California state senate with bipartisan support, prohibits pet shops from selling dogs, cats and rabbits from mass breeders. Pet shops will instead be required to get animals from a "public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter or rescue group."

The law would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019 if Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill.

"Most Californians agree that we need to put the brakes on the mass breeding of animals who end up in local shelters, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to care for and eventually euthanize," said Sen. Cathleen Galgian, according to the Long Beach Post. "[The bill] will take the puppy mills out of pet stores and give shelter animals a better chance of being adopted."

Although the bill had widespread support among lawmakers, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, a lobby group for pet retailers, said it damages consumer protections that allow owners to be reimbursed by pet stores for ill pets.

The bill "exempts pet stores from consumer information requirements, warranty provisions, fines for violators, and other important regulations," the organization said in a press release.

"Governor Brown, please veto this bill for the sake of your constituents, both four-legged and two-legged," said PIJAC President Mike Bober.

"Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization," according to the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "Puppy mill dogs do not get to experience treats, toys, exercise or basic grooming."

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