It’s common knowledge that if you buy a new furry friend from a commercial pet store, they may very well have come from a pet mill.
Pet mills (puppy mills) are organizations that focus on forcing animals to breed quickly and often for the purpose of selling their litters to pet stores. The animals are treated poorly, have little human interaction, and are often sick and afraid of humans. But now, California is leading the way in ending pet mills with a new law that took effect on Jan. 1.
The law states that pet stores in the state can no longer sell animals that come from unsafe sources, like puppy mills. Rather, they may only sell ones that come from shelters or animal rescue organizations.
It’s a big first step for ending the inhumane treatment of animals born and raised in pet mills.
“A pet store operator shall not sell a live dog, cat, or rabbit in a pet store unless the dog, cat, or rabbit was obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animal shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group that is in a cooperative agreement with at least one private or public shelter pursuant to [specific statutes],” reads Bill No. 485.
Under the law, pet stores must also keep records of where they source their animals and give these to the people who adopt from them.
But there’s another benefit to the new law: reducing the $250 million annual tax costs of caring for — and euthanizing — animals that don’t get adopted in the state of California.
And California isn’t the only place that’s trying to improve animal welfare.
The United Kingdom also did something similar recently in an effort to do away with any pet mills in the country and focus instead on needy animals in shelters.
Some people in the state worried about what the new law would mean for them and for purebred animals, and how it would restrict access to purebreds.
“Serious question: do dogs from breeders not deserve love?” read a tweet from Twitter user @Socawkbutterfly. “Our dog was a pure bread [sic] golden and was amazing. He’s not better than our other dog, whom we got from a shelter. Why do people think that dogs from breeders aren’t deserving of homes?”
Purebred animals are often sourced directly from a dog breeder.
This may be an individual who specializes in matching purebred dogs, helping them mate, and caring for the resulting puppies. Obviously, with the high level of regulation required to produce a purebred animal, people are unlikely to find them in pet shelters.
But the law does stipulate that there will be no new restrictions placed on animal breeders. Anyone in the state of California can continue to buy purebred animals from a private breeder.
While some were concerned, others posted on social media expressing happiness at the changes and even sharing their experiences working with animals sourced from pet mills.
The stories of sick and injured animals are nothing short of heartbreaking.
“As someone who worked in a pet store that sold puppies, I think this is a great move,” tweeted @LinzDeFranco. “Those poor dogs were all from puppy mills and a lot of them were so sick. At 15, I was in charge of taking care of them and even giving them IV’s. I had no proper training.”
Stories about the conditions within pet mills are similarly heartbreaking. The website humanesociety.org describes how their members rescued animals from mills and shut the organizations down. They describe dogs who had never once been out in the fresh air and were forced to breed over and over again. They lived in filthy conditions without adequate attention or medical care, frequently with serious health problems and infections.
It’s a terrible way to live, with little human interaction and no love or affection.
Pet mills are frequently unsanitary, making it an easy place for animals to get sick very quickly. Most of them spend all their time in small cages. What’s even worse is that once they can no longer have litters, they are promptly euthanized. It’s such a different way from how dogs and cats are meant to live – in a happy, loving family.
All this taken into account, there’s no doubt the passing of the California law is timely.
And many social media users applauded the news by sharing photos of their own furry friends, especially ones that had come from shelters.
“Before and after rescue,” tweeted @BigglesRosie, sharing a picture of a smiling pit bull. “She was scarred, scared, and not housetrained. They found her abandoned in an apartment starving. She’s the best little cuddler now.”
Hopefully, the passing of the law in California will pave the way for similar laws to be passed throughout the United States.
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