California has become the first state to ban the sale of animals that are born and bred in puppy mills. California Governor Jerry Brown signed this law on Friday October 13, 2017. It requires pet stores to work with animal shelters or rescues if they wish to sell dogs, cats and rabbits. The law however, does not apply to private breeders who will still be able to sell animals directly to the public.
The state measure, AB485, ensures better treatment of animals that often live in deplorable, dirty, conditions. These animals are over bred and kept in cramped cages. They also often have respiratory issues and joint issues because they don’t have room to stand up or turn around in the cages they are kept it. The requirements under AB485 are minimal but still require breeders to be held accountable. Cage size for animals are required to be six inches larger than they are now, and the cages must be cleaned once a week. The restrictions are set to be put into place on January 1, 2019. Those who violate the law will face a fine of $500 in civil penalties.
Those against the ban say that AB485 will put pet stores out of business. Maybe that’s a good thing—animals bred in puppy mills often come with a limited medical history. Pet owners have the right to know where their dog, cat, or rabbit came from. If pet owners had a paper trail to follow, those who breed animals could be held accountable if they knowingly sell animals that are sick or injured. As a result, if the animal dies shortly after purchase, the one who purchased will now have a recourse to fall back on.
Supporters say it would cut off the supply chain of animals that are often bred simply for money-making purposes. Shutting down puppy mills would also, hopefully, reduce the number of animals turned over to animal shelters. Shelters are usually the first to step in when a puppy mill is raided or is shut down completely.
Thirty-six cities in California, including Los Angeles and San Francisco have similar bans that have already been put into place. California is the first state in the nation to regulate animals at the state level, however, more than 230 cities, towns and counties across the United States already have ordinances in place.
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