California bans selling pets bought from breeders

Retail pet sellers in California will soon be banned from selling dogs, cats and rabbits that they did not acquire from animal shelters or non-profit rescue organizations.

On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 485, which aims to crack down on commercial breeding facilities, or puppy mills, and reduce the trafficking of mill-bred animals into California pet stores. The adoption of the legislation makes California the first state in the country to mandate that pet stores get their animals from shelters or rescues.

Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), the author of the bill, said the signing of the legislation is a victory for animals and animal-lovers across the state.

“This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course,” O’Donnell said. “But also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters.”

Social Compassion in Legislation, a nonprofit animal welfare organization sponsored the bill, and the legislation received backing from other animal rights groups. When the law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019, pet stores will face fines of $500 for every animal for sale that did not come from a shelter or rescue organization.

Prior to AB 485 making its way through the Legislature, the city of Los Angeles adopted a similar measure in 2012, which required pet stores to acquire dogs, cats and rabbits from animal shelters. More than 30 cities in the state then followed suit with similar ordinances.