As the calendar turns to a new year, it seems the state of California in the United States is gearing up for a very significant change. Starting on January 1, 2019, all pet stores in the state of California are banned from selling any rabbits, kittens, or puppies that came from a commercial breeder. This stunning change means these pet stores and shops can only sell rescue animals that came from local animal shelters. This major shift in the landscape in California is in response to a growing issue in the state. Specifically, this policy is targeted at individuals known as “backyard breeders” or puppy mills. These operations are notorious for being more interested in money than the overall welfare and well being of the animals in them. Many dogs are forced to live in dirty, cramped cages and sit in their own urine and feces.
Many of the dogs in these scenarios are not just mistreated, but also receive little, if any, veterinary care. Some dogs are overbred, leading to major health problems that can cause serious repercussions. Then, these young dogs are sent out to pet stores to be sold to customers. Then, those puppies parents are left in the puppy mill, to continue living in filth and bred over and over again to produce more ‘stock’ to continue to sell to pet stores. This has been a serious and ongoing issue in the state of California, which led to this law’s passage.
While this means many breeders are at risk of losing their livelihood, Kitty Block, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) says it’s a step in the right direction. The law is meant to not just reduce the demand for animals coming from mills, but to help people understand how important it is to understand the responsibility that comes along with owning a dog or any pet, for that matter. The HSUS hopes many more states follow suit, like Maryland who plans to enact a similar law in 2020.