Oct. 14 (UPI) -- California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation into law this week that requires pet stores in the state to exclusively sell rescue dogs, cats and rabbits.
Assembly Bill 485, the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, requires all dogs, cats, and rabbits offered for retail sale in California to be obtained from animal shelters or non-profit rescue organizations.
"This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course," the bill's author, Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell, D-Long Beach, said in a statement Friday. "But also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters. I am very grateful for the strong support we received from animal-lovers across the state and from Social Compassion in Legislation, the bill's sponsor."
The bill's goal is to reduce the number of animals sold from shelters and businesses with mass breeding operations known as "puppy mills" or "kitten factories."
"We are overjoyed that Governor Brown signed this historic piece of legislation into law," Judie Mancuso, president and founder of Social Compassion in Legislation, said in a statement.
The bill received widespread support from rescue organizations, but was opposed by groups that included the American Kennel Club and California Retailers Association.
"AB 485 blocks all of California's pet lovers from having access to professional, licensed, and ethical commercial breeders," Sheila Goffe, vice president of government relations for the kennel club, said in a release Friday from the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. "This is not good for Californians or their companion animals."
Assembly Bill 485 unanimously passed the California state senate in September and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2019.