California just became the first state to ban pet stores from selling cats, dogs and rabbits unless they worked with shelters or rescue groups to supply the animals.
The bill was put in the motion to both cut down on financial support for these “puppy mills,” where some dogs have been found to live in deplorable conditions, as well as promote the adoption of homeless pets.
Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law Friday, a move praised by animal welfare groups, especially Social Compassion in Legislation, the sponsors of the bill. The group’s founder and CEO, Judie Mancuso, said in a statement, “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 Animal, also praised the bill, especially for breaking “the puppy mill supply chain that pushes puppies into California pet stores and has allowed unscrupulous breeders to profit from abusive practices.”
However, some pet industry representatives are unhappy with the bill, saying it is bad for business, and “strips consumers of many pet store protections, risks hundreds of jobs, and reduces pet choice.”
Pet stores have until January 2019 to make the necessary accommodations. Breeders can still sell pets directly to consumers, just no longer through a retail shop. More than 230 cities across the country have passed similar orders, but California became the first the do it statewide.