Posted on October 23, 2017
California Takes Us One Step Closer to Eradicating Puppy Mills
California has been making lots of history as of late some of which has been wonderful and some really terrible. Last week I reported on the terrible- the horrific firestorms in Northern California. This week it’s all about the wonderful.
Approximately one week ago, California Governor Jerry Brown signed off on Assembly Bill 485. This new law stipulates that, beginning in 2019, all dogs, cats and rabbits sold in pet stores within the state of California must be obtained from shelters, rescue organizations or animal control agencies. The law also demands greater transparency from pet store proprietors who will be required to keep clear records on how each animal was obtained and post this information on each animal’s cage. While several cities and jurisdictions have already passed such legislation, California is the first state to do so.
Puppy mills and pet stores
As it stands now, puppy mills supply the vast majority (as in 99%) of puppies sold in pet stores. Every puppy sold puts cash in the pockets of a ”puppy miller” perpetuating the heinous practice of breeding dogs and raising puppies under horrifically inhumane conditions. In helping to write AB 485, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell is hoping to suppress the puppy mill industry as well as decrease the number of animals in California shelters. He stated, “This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course. But also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters.”
For and against
The usual parties are voicing their opinions for and against this newly passed California legislation. The ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States believe the new law will help break the supply chain of animals coming into pet stores from puppy mills and irresponsible breeders. According to Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA, “By prohibiting the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores, California will cut off the supply of inhumanely bred puppies into communities across the state, and prevent consumers from unwittingly supporting this cruel industry.”
Predictably, on the other side of aisle is the American Kennel Club. Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice President of Government Relations, stated that the new legislation “blocks all of California’s pet lovers from having access to professional, licensed and ethical commercial breeders.” Why oh why does the AKC continue to insist that puppies sold in pet stores come from ethical breeders? I’m hard pressed to come up with a reason other than the obvious direct correlation between numbers of puppy mill dogs and the revenue stream that flows into the AKC when they become registered.
How do I feel about California AB 485? The only way I could be more pleased is if other states jump on this bandwagon. Yes, I think it’s possible that a small percentage of ethical breeders could be negatively impacted by this new legislation. I also believe this is a small but necessary price to pay on the road to eradicating puppy mills.
Way to go California! Now, let’s hope other states follow your lead.
How do you weigh in on this new legislation?
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at http://www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.