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California; 1st State to Require Pet Stores Sell Shelter Animals

Photo above by Lum3n.com from Pexels

New Years Day 2019 was a good day for shelter animals in California with the enactment of Bill AB-485. It states “This bill would prohibit, on and after January 1, 2019, a pet store operator from selling a live dog, cat, or rabbit in a pet store unless the dog, cat, or rabbit was obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group”.

The law targets puppy mills and kitten factories who are notorious for animal abuse. They often operation with little oversight from any government agencies and house animals in horrible living conditions including overcrowding, lack of socialization, unsanitary conditions and inadequate food and water according to a fact sheet used for the legislation.

This law is a huge step forward for the crusade of the animal rescue workers who work tirelessly for the ethical treatment of animals and to reduce the number of dogs and cats who are ultimately euthanized each year. According to ASPCA, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals, are euthanized each year and most of the time, it is because shelters just don’t have the capacity or the resources to house so many animals.

It costs California taxpayers a $250 million dollars each year to house animals in local shelters. It is forcasted that this new law will drop this cost significantly while choking profits for puppy mills with the hopes that these for profit businesses will eventually cease to exist.

California might be the first state, but there are already approximately 250 cities and municipalities that already have laws on the books that has banned the sales of “breeder” dogs and cats, Chicago and Cook County being part of this group with ordinances as of 2014.

The only store that can be found in the Oak Forest area, via an internet search, that still sells puppies is Happiness is Pets in Orland Park. Happiness is Pets has been linked to puppy mills and has been protested for years by the likes of organizations such as the CAPS(Companion Animal Protection Society). The reason that Orland Park still can have such a business even though there is an ordinance in Cook County is because of a home rule law that exists in Illinois. The home rule law states that any city that has a population over 25,000, can opt out of Cook County ordinances.

Crest Hill is the latest city to legislate the ban of puppy mills dogs in Illinois. Crest Hill has one pet store, Puppy in the Window, and according to the Chicago Tribune, City Administrator Heather McGuire said she believes the owners have decided to close the store, whose methods have been criticized by a local animal welfare organization.

“The tide is turning,” said Morgan Drdak. He is the founder of Safe Pets for Joliet which is an advocacy group who organized and picketed at the Puppy in the Window pet store. “On Friday, the entire state of California did this. We’re not surprised, and we’re hoping that more communities — whether they have a pet store or not — will go ahead and be proactive. This is how we can make a difference, this is how we can shut down the puppy mills, this is how we can change the way that animals are treated when they’re bred.”

The dream for all animal lovers is to end the senseless and heart breaking need to euthanize wonderful animals who have done nothing wrong except to have the misfortune of not having a forever home. This huge step from California is a step in the right direction and the hope is that one day, euthanize will be a word only referred to in the past tense.

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