Hannah Gabel, Staff Writer
California passed a new law requiring pet stores to sell bunnies, kittens and dogs from local shelters and rescues, rather than selling animals that have come from puppy mills or breeders. The law was introduced last February and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
The new law prevents pet stores across California from purchasing animals from breeders and puppy mills bred specifically for stores. This is meant to encourage adoption from shelters, rather than buying animals with health problems from puppy mills or similar types of places. Professional and reputable breeders are a good place to find a pet, especially because it allows the customer to choose the exact breed that they want. The pets are usually of good blood lines and are very healthy. Providing business for puppy mills only encourages the terrible care conditions for animals, and customers will end up with a pet that will often have a life riddled with health problems. While the illnesses may be unnoticed initially, many can take effect after a few years of the animals’ life, all because of improper breeding, care, and conditions at the puppy mill. The new California law has been created to help diminish avenues for puppy mills to get funding and support because of their poor conditions.
Animals from shelters are often overlooked and seen as “not good enough.” Under this new law, they will get a proper place to be cared for and adopted, changing stigmas against shelter animals, while also opening more space in the actual animal shelters so there can be more rescues. With this law in place, more animals will be given a proper home.
Like with most new laws, there are some controversies that prevent it from being fully accepted. Individuals are concerned with the limited selection that shelters can potentially offer, and stores are worried it will hurt business by making it harder to sell pets. However, pet stores are not forced to sell puppies, kittens, or rabbits. Should they choose to, they have a multitude of shelters and rescues they can choose from to provide pets for customers to purchase. This is a great way to get exposure for shelter animals, all of whom desperately need homes. Responsible breeders should be able to find numerous other ways to promote their business as there will always be people that want a specific breed of dog, along with the assurance that they are healthy. People may also want puppies, which shelters don’t always have.
In Western Washington, pet stores rarely sell bunnies or anything larger, unless they are going through a local shelter. Petco and Petsmart sell local cats from shelters in their store, but no puppies or bunnies. Breeders don’t sell their dogs through pet stores and instead advertise their businesses via online via websites and through business cards or pamphlets distributed at pet stores. to raise awareness of their business. Breeders are usually very successful since there are always customers who want to buy dogs from breeders. It is doubtful that this new California law will inhibit the success of breeders, as they can find other ways to promote themselves and be just as successful, while allowing the extra opportunity for shelter animals to be adopted. This new law will bring about a series of changes throughout California pet stores to enable customers to become aware of where they are getting their pets from.