The new year brings new laws to California, and they mean positive changes for animals. One of the state's new law, effective January 1, bans pet stores from selling puppies, kittens and rabbits sourced from commercial breeders. Stores are allowed to have rescue animals that come from shelters.
This policy is meant to prevent puppy mills and backyard breeders from stocking pet stores. These breeders are known for their focus on profits over animal welfare. Often, animals in puppy mills live in cramped cages in unsanitary conditions.
Backyard breeders and puppy mills typically ship out young animals to be sold at high profits. The animals often receive no veterinary care, and their parents are left behind to spend their entire lives in these conditions.
California's new law will impact the profits and sales of this industry. The law is the first and most strict policy yet regarding the sources of pets to be sold in stores. Although the law won't shut down backyard breeding and puppy mill situations, it is the first step in eliminating places that these businesses can sell their animals.
The law does more than just regulate the sources of pet store pets, though. It helps to make sure that families are prepared to provide the long-term care a new pet requires. This is particularly important when it comes to rabbits because they're often seen as being starter pets but can live 10 years or more.
Now that the new law is in effect in California, maybe other states will also enact similar laws of their own. The Humane Society of the United States plans to work with additional states this year in hopes of implementing similar laws.
Maryland is poised to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores in 2020. In addition, many cities across the country have banned animal sales at pet stores, so states may not be too far behind in adopting these policies.