In October 2017, California became the first state in the country requiring pet stores to sell only those dogs, cats, and rabbits who were rescued or obtained from a shelter. As of 2019 when bill A.B. 485 is expected to fully implement, animal breeders will no longer be able to sell pets to pet stores for resale.
There have been mixed reactions to the bill. Animal activists have praised the new legislation, hopeful it will curb the inhumane practices of “puppy mills” and “kitten farms.” Private breeders, however, worry potential pet owners will seek out other avenues to procure exactly the breed they’re in the market for.
Vetted PetCare believes in one thing, and that’s safe, healthy pets.
If you’re a pet owner, the new bill won’t affect you at all. If you’re considering getting a new pet in the coming years, however, here’s what you need to know.
As of 2019, Californians will have two legal options when it comes to obtaining a dog, cat, or rabbit:
Adoption/Rescue: Pet owners will still be able to adopt, foster, and rescue animals from shelters and other animal organizations, along with licensed pet stores.The difference will be that pet stores will only be offering rescued animals rather than specially-purchased, privately bred animals.
Private Sale: Those looking for a specific breed will still be allowed to purchase an animal from a private breeder. Breeders may still operate legally under strict CA regulations, but they may not run what the state determines is a “pet store.”
How Are Rescue Pets Different from Pet Store Pets?
It depends! Pets are just like people: they come in all shapes and sizes and with various personalities, quirks, and habits. Ideally, the new law will curb irresponsible and inhumane breeding practices that can produce animals with a litany of physical and behavioral ailments. “Puppy mill” puppies, for example, tend to have higher instances of genetic diseases, socialization issues, and aggression.
Individual rescue dogs, of course, can suffer from many of the same traits. Particularly if they’re rescued into adulthood, rescue animals can have various special needs and requirements related to time they spent feral or abused. It’s important to understand that there are no guarantees when it comes to adopting a rescue animal; it’s also important to remember there are no guarantees when adopting a purebred, either.
Adopting or Purchasing a Rescue Pet in California
If you decide to purchase a rescue animal from a reputable pet store or adopt one from a local shelter after 2019, good for you! Over 6 million animals make their way into rescues each year in the U.S. Almost all of them can benefit from love, companionship, and care.
Adopting a rescue pet can feel overwhelming. It’s a good idea to line up a vet appointment right away to ensure your new pet is healthy and able to adjust to his or her new life. In-home veterinary visits in California are extremely popular among rescue pet owners because they’re less stressful for sometimes-skittish animals in the early days of placement.