Last week, Sacramento became the latest city to ban the commercial sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores; requiring that any offered at retail outlets must be obtained from local animal shelters or rescue groups.
“In many cities, animals are brought in from other states, from ‘puppy mills,’ where they live a horrific life, especially the breeder mothers, in cages their entire lives,” Gina Knepp, the director of Front Street Animal Shelter told KCRA News calling the amended legislation “largely symbolic” since all but one local pet store in Sacramento already works with animal shelters to adopt pets out.
Now one of 36 cities in California to have enacted such an ordinance, animal advocates are even more hopeful that Sacramento’s decision precedes the ultimate passing of AB 485, The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act into a statewide law. AB 485, authored by Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell with Assembly Member Matt Dababneh, the bill’s principal co-author, is currently en route to being voted on by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Social Compassion In Legislation (SCIL), a California animal advocacy group is the sponsor of the vanguard legislation.
“We are thrilled with the City of Sacramento’s decision to implement this critical ban on pet stores; one that has already proven to be highly-successful in more than 200 cities nationwide,” said Judie Mancuso, president of Social Compassion in Legislation, who also spearheaded the original bill passed by the City of Los Angeles along with many other local jurisdictions in the state.
“Codifying the best business practices of pet retailers in California, AB 485, The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act is designed to encourage even more business by reaching modern day consumers, including millennials, while reducing the number of adoptable dogs, cats, and rabbits, in shelters throughout the state,” Mancuso continued.
Supporters unanimously agree that this updated business model will be beneficial to pet adopters, pet retailers, homeless yet adoptable dogs, cats, and rabbits, as well as to the State of California and its taxpayers as a whole.
Concurrently, the bill also marks “an important step in ending the inhumane and deplorable breeding practices of puppy mills, and fostering increased adoption opportunities for pets at local shelters,” as Assembly Member Dababneh previously noted.
While some continue to argue that pet stores only sell dogs, cats, and rabbits from accredited breeders, it has been proven untrue time and time again; leaving animal advocates in condemnation of the severely insufficient standards that have to be met for licensing. The majority of animals that are born and bred in these unfortunate situations are treated inhumanely and left to unnecessarily suffer, or die, at the hands of questionable breeders.
It has also been documented that animals secured from some breeders have developed serious health issues that can be costly and mislead owners. Sadly, it is common for these poor animals to end up in the overburdened shelter system anyway.
Tragically, more than 2.7 million healthy adoptable dogs, cats, and rabbits are euthanized each year in shelters throughout the United States. California shelters put down more than one thousand dogs and cats every single day.
It is time to make a consistent and permanent change in California by passing this bill into law.