A rescue cat ready to be adopted at PetSmart.
Over the past couple weeks, California legislatures passed a bill that prohibits pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits that are not obtained from shelters or rescue organizations. Now it is currently waiting to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown. This law has been in progress for months now and it has gotten a lot of mixed reactions from breeders, consumers and pet owners. I have been a volunteer at various animal welfare groups since I was 16 years old and I am strongly urging Governor Brown to sign this bill.
This law would cut off commercial breeders, thus decreasing the population of dogs and cats. According to the nokilladvocacycenter.org, there are around 2.6 million dogs and cats killed in U.S. shelters each year simply because there is no room for them. However, 30 million Americans add a new animal to their households every year. Some breeders that sell to pet stores are known for their “puppy mills” which mass produce animals all to make a profit. The conditions in these puppy mills are unlivable for the animals. Overcrowded, dirty cages filled with starved and confused animals are common in most of these mills. Unfortunately, this practice is still legal. The law of banning this kind of breeder from selling to pet shops will cut off their main source of income and hopefully run them out of business all together.
With that being said, I have recognized the few negative effects this bill would have. For one, breeders who actually take care of their animals would have the same ban as puppy mill breeders. Although the ban is only to prevent all breeders from selling animals to pet stores, it does not ban breeders altogether. So if someone wanted a specific breed of dog, they could contact the breeder directly. Another concern is that owners are afraid of not knowing a shelter animal’s health records. However, puppy mills are known to have extremely limited veterinary care for their animals as well.
Overall, I see a lot more good coming out of this law than bad. As humans, we have a duty to protect those that cannot protect themselves and animals fall into that category. There is no excuse for choosing to shop rather than adopt. Hopefully Governor Jerry Brown chooses to sign this bill and make California the first state to combat puppy mills on a state-wide level.