Late last year a piece of legislation passed through California that will change the way the state’s many pet stores do business when it comes selling cats, dogs, and bunny rabbits as pets.
The legislation passed into law to take effect on January 1st of this year and determines that there now an effective ban on pet stores against purchasing wholesale animals from commercial breeders, with a particular eye toward shutting down puppy mill operations.
This will force all of California’s pet stores to work in conjunction with local shelters to source their pets and help get thousands of rescue animals into good, loving homes.
The new law is choosing to target people who participate in backyard breeding and puppy mill programs, both of which the state has had troubles with in terms of animal abuse, neglect, and their lack of adequate space and living environments.
All too often, such breeders and commercial pet retailers have let their greed for money get in the way of caring for the thousands of animals they are forced-breeding, and the poor pups, kittens, and bunnies end up piled on top of one another in cages that are too tiny to hold them. This takes a severe toll on their health, as they cannot get out and run, move, or exercise at all, and creates serious behavioral issues as each helpless animal has to fight just to get a nibble of food and a drink of water.
Medical care is awfully lacking at best, and more often than not they simply never see a vet until they are in someone else’s care, be it a pet store or a new owner.
This means that on being sent out from the mill or the breeder, the puppies are often in very poor health before they ever even get adopted, and the parents that bred them are left at the mill or with the breeder where they will be forced to have litter after litter simply to increase the mill or breeder’s “stock”.
On the heels of California’s new law, though, these heartless, unethical breeders situated throughout the state will feel the heavy-handed punch to their profits as their largest customers, commercial pet stores, are forced to source their animals from a more respectable facility, such as shelters and rescues.
In an interview with The Dodo, the Humane Society of the United States’ acting CEO and president, Kitty Block (no joke), explains HSUS’s hopes for the new law:
“[This] takes us one big step closer to the day when puppy mills have nowhere left to sell,” she exclaims.
In addition to bringing the long overdue end to the puppy mill era, supporters of the law hope that it will also have an effect on how well potential pet adopters prepare themselves and their home to welcome a new pet into the family.
The new bill pays particularly close attention to the sale of bunny rabbits.
Bunnies are frequently purchased on impulse by people with the idea that a bunny is an “easy” introduction to owning and taking care of an animal…it’s not, though.
A rabbit can live out the better part of a decade, and each species comes with its own set of medical history or potential issues, require a specific diet, and specific living conditions, too. In short, owning a rabbit is just as intensive and complicated as owning any other pet, but sadly they are treated as disposable with many people’s mentality erring on the side of “they’re cheap and we can always get another.”
The highest hopes of the animal advocates getting behind California’s new law is that it will set a precedent for and influence how other states in the U.S. move forward with their own animal rights legislation and join them in their war on animal cruelty in the name of making a buck, and it seems to be worth hoping for.
Just this last march New York, one of the big kahunas of the states in terms of legislation, have recently set themselves up to become the third state in the U.S. to put an effective ban on the sale of puppies in pet stores. That is two other states that have fallen in line with California’s new legislation just in the last six months, and Maryland is set to follow with their legislation being enforced by 2020, just six months away.
Many cities have issued their own ordinances to try to put an end to puppy mill breeding, and as such it will only be a matter of time before each city’s respective state follows suit and create state-wide bans as well.