New California pet store regulations create new lives for shelter animals


One of the best parts about passing a pet shop as a child was being able to look at the puppies in the window. Many can remember pressing their face up to the glass and watching the puppies tumble over each other as their parents tried to tug them away. Children today still do this, few of them realizing where these puppies come from. Unfortunately, most of them probably came from puppy mills. Puppy mills are large-scale breeding facilities and it is necessary for their regulations to tighten up considerably.

Puppy mills are different from private breeders in that they do not really care about strong breed lineage or healthy animals; they just want to breed as many puppies as possible in order to make more money.

The conditions of the mills are often inhumane and the dogs are treated terribly until they are sold to pet shops, which enjoy the cheaper prices puppy mills offer. Dogs that do survive these mills and live to adulthood are often riddled with medical problems.

People often boycott pet shops that they know use puppy mills in a firm refusal to support that industry. But doing that is not enough to shut down the huge businesses. There needs to be some sort of lawful regulation. Gov. Edmund Gerald Brown Jr. of California has recently passed legislature that will put a significant dent in the profits puppy mills make and also hurt the pockets of private breeders. The latter are harmful in their own way because of their steep prices and because they promote deformities in the dogs if they breed animals that are too closely related.

The new law tackles both of these problems while also helping animals in need. Starting in the beginning of 2019, pet shops in California will be required to work with shelters and rescues to sell rescue cats, dogs and rabbits. For every animal in violation of this law, the pet shop will be fined $500. This will help transition to the point where all of these animals are required by law to be adopted out of shelters. The law will give the animals a better chance of finding a forever home.

One of the directors of the local chapter of the American Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty discussed the gradual process the governor is supporting. She remarked that it encourages people to give shelters a chance.

By waiting until 2019 to enact the law, animal enthusiasts will be able to educate those looking to adopt animals and prepare them for the challenges and joys of owning a pet.

There is a popular stigma about shelter animals being sickly or poorly tempered and this law will help lessen that. There is also a notion that purebreds and puppies cannot be found in shelters, but this is also untrue. Shelter pets are just as good and deserving of love as any animal bought from an independent seller.

Animal shelters also differ from pet shops in the staffing. They often have volunteers who genuinely love animals and want what is best for them.

The volunteers take time to get to know the personalities of these animals and can help figure out what homes and types of people are best suited for them. This ensures that the animals and owners have the best chance of a successful and happy arrangement.

Not everyone is crazy about this law, with pet stores being the main opponents. They believe the law will put them out of business. However, this is not necessarily true since the stores can still sell other types of animals. Pet store owners also say the law takes away people’s choices if they want a specific breed. This may then cause them to look for worse ways to get what they want.

The American Kennel Club was a surprising opponent, stating that the law will lead to more people getting pets that are incompatible with them. This will result in the animals being returned back to the shelters. However, an important distinction is that the law does not make it illegal to buy from private breeders, so people still have that option.

California is the first to have a law like this, although over 200 cities and counties across the country have bans on breeding organizations like puppy mills and kitten factories.

When the law is enacted in 2019, it will hopefully prove to be incredibly successful. That will spur more states to adopt similar laws and encourage more potential pet owners to adopt shelter animals. California taxpayers will be happy to know that this should reduce the $250 million they spend on housing and euthanizing shelter animals every year. With luck, New York will soon pass similar laws with little opposition.