California Will Require All Pet Stores to Only Sell Rescue Animals by 2019

Shop your hearts out, pet lovers!

It's hard to pass by a window of puppies and not get overwhelmed by their cuteness, and then saddened when we think about their lives before that point, and their current existence in tiny cages. By now, it’s common knowledge that many adorable creatures sold at pet stores were sourced from puppy mills and kitten factories, where they were born in deplorable conditions. Buying from a pet store rather than adopting from a shelter perpetuates an abusive system.

The good news is that California just passed a law that states that all dogs, cats, and rabbits sold in pet stores must come from animal shelters or non-profit rescue organizations by 2019. Titled AB 485, the law will fine pet store owners $500 for each animal that is not a rescue.

What?! This is incredible! It’s the sort of law you can get behind even if you’re not an animal lover — if you’re just merely, for example, a cold-hearted number cruncher. According to the author of the bill, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), California taxpayers pay roughly $250 million a year to euthanize and house shelter animals.

The bill could lower the cost by not only placing such animals in loving homes, but also by making it difficult for puppy mills and kitten factories to stay profitable. Although they’re as deserving of love as any other creature, animals bred in such places often have serious psychological and health issues, forcing owners to put them up for adoption. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken. The ASPCA estimates that 6.5 million animals enter shelters every year — and 1.5 million of them are euthanized.

You know that phrase “adopt don’t shop?” Well that’s about to become meaningless in all of California, not just San Francisco. Shop your hearts out! Hopefully, other states will follow California’s lead.

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