California requires pet stores sell only rescued animals

12-10-08-17 SHELTERS1

California has become the first state to require all stores that sell dogs, cats and rabbits to offer adoptable pets from shelters and nonprofit rescue groups instead of through breeders or puppy mills.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 485 on Friday. The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act was authored by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach.

O’Donnell, whose family has two rescue dogs, has said the issue “is very personal” to him.

“This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course,” O’Donnell 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.”

Pet industry leaders decried the new law.

“Assembly Bill 485 reverses California’s tradition of leading the nation in pet and consumer protections,” said Mike Bober, president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. “It also strips consumers of many pet store protections, risks hundreds of jobs, and reduces pet choice.”

Sheila Goffe, American Kennel Club vice president of government relations, said the law “fails to distinguish between professional breeders and pet profiteers.”

The law does not prevent residents from buying a pet directly from a breeder.