California Celebrates Dogs in 2019: First State to Require Pet Stores to Only Sell Rescue Animals

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Dogs in California have a reason to celebrate 2019. Starting on Jan 1, a law goes into effect that will fine pet stores for selling animals from breeders, including puppy mills (basically, huge breeding factories that have no concern for the wellbeing of animals).

Starting in the new year, pet stores may only sell dogs, cats and rabbits if they come from a rescue organization, shelters or animal control agencies, according to bill AB 485.

“I think it’s better to rescue these animals instead of having like a puppy mill or something like that where these animals are raised super inhumanely,” Suna Kentdotson told CNN at a shelter, where she is looking to rescue a kitten.

Related: California Becomes the First State to Require Pet Stores to Only Sell Rescued Dogs and Cats

Her husband, Mitch, added, “It takes the emphasis off the profit of animals and puts the emphasis back on caring for and getting these cats and dogs a good home.”

The law, which was signed in Oct. 2017 by Governor Jerry Brown, was sponsored by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell.

“This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course,” O’Donnell said at the time. “But also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters.”

He also cited unknown costs owners may incur down the road when buying a dog from a puppy mill, including dealing with physical ailments, behavioral issues.

The passing of the bill was a battle with animal-welfare organizations, like the ASPCA, waging a war against those who opposed, which included the AKC, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and local pet store owners.

“By transitioning away from mill bred animals in pet stores, Californians have demonstrated their intolerance for cruel breeding,” Jennie Lintz, the director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign, told This Dog’s Life at the time.

If a pet store is in violation of the new law, it could face a $500 penalty per animal. (People can still buy dogs and cats directly from private breeders.)

Hopefully, more states will follow suit. Mass, commercial breeders not only put profit over the health of the animals but are also partially to blame for millions of animals ending up in the shelter system, with thousands being euthanized every year. There is a huge overpopulation problem in the US, and forcing animals to breed when there are so many looking for homes seems absurd.

Related: The Woman Behind the Nationwide No-Kill Movement Shares Her Leadership Advice When Dealing With a Divisive Community