California has always been at the forefront of animal protection, and today we’re celebrating another step forward for our state. California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law legislation that will prevent the sale of commercially raised dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores across the state of California, protecting both pets and consumers. This model is already used by the nation’s largest pet retailers, Petco and PetSmart, providing greater visibility to shelter animals by getting them out of the shelter environment and into a public storefront, thus increasing their chance for adoption.
California joins more than 230 cities, towns and counties across the U.S. that have passed pet store ordinances to take a stand against allowing cruelly-bred animals to be sold in their communities. Despite enticing claims that they only source from licensed, humane or small-scale breeders, pet stores across the country are invariably supplying unsuspecting consumers with animals from puppy and kitten “mills.” These facilities are designed to maximize profits at the expense of the animals in their possession. Those animals are generally kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization, leaving them with medical and behavioral issues for life. This legislation will help break the supply chain so that “mill” operations are unable to profit from their abusive practices.
Opponents of this bill also believe that it punishes business owners who sell pets from reputable breeders or the breeders themselves. But that’s simply not the case. This law supports local, responsible breeders who limit their total litters to no more than three per year. Ironically, in much of the United States, San Diego included, we’re actually running out of puppies, which is why we need responsible breeders.
Together, we’re truly shaping the way this country treats its animals. We’re setting the example of how animals should be regarded by ending the tragedy of puppy mills one state at a time. This legislation will help to ease the overcrowding of homeless animals in California shelters, relieve county budgets and put a spotlight on the abusive puppy mill industry. Thank you for being a part of this important work. Together, we can lead the country in the protection of animals and help end the cruelty of commercial puppy mills once and for all.