SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act which went into effect Jan. 1st, means all pet stores in California can only sell dogs, cats, and rabbits if they come from shelters or non-profit rescue organizations.
“We are hoping to see not only an increase of adopters here but an increase of people reaching out to us who maybe owe pet stores,” said Marketing Manager of Ventura County Animal Services Randy Friedman. “I hope pet stores would want to come to the shelters, see what they have and maybe rescue animals from here, take them to the pet store and adopt them out.”The change in law is hoping to put an end to “puppy mills” and “kitten factories."
Friedman says 99% of animals from local pet stores come from puppy mills, “I think its a wake-up call to people. We have all seen the videos online, and we have all seen how a lot of the animals are kept in puppy mills and a lot of them are horrible situations. A lot of them come with a whole host of medical issues, behavioral issues, some of them have been inbred, with many medical concerns.”
Under the law, individuals are still allowed to buy from private breeders, but stores will be prohibited from doing so.
In fact, pet stores will now have to be able to provide records of the animals or face a $500 penalty.
California became the first state in the country to introduce such legislation. Animals lovers hope it starts a trend.
“It’s a huge win for animals, and animal advocates, and animal lovers,” said Friedman.