New Law Makes California 1st State to Require Pet Stores to Sell Only Rescue Animals | Local News

California has become the first state to require pet stores to sell rescue animals instead of dogs, cats and rabbits from breeders or “puppy mills.”

Gov. Jerry Brown signed off on the legislation Friday. Assembly Bill 485, the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, was authored by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach.

The law requires dogs, cats and rabbits offered for retail sale to be obtained from animal shelters or nonprofit rescue organizations.

“This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course,” O’Donnell said. “But also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters.”

The law — which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019 — will dramatically reduce the trafficking of “puppy mill”-bred animals into California pet stores, he said.

The new law drew criticism from those saying it will harm small businesses.

Animal Kingdom Pet Shop founder Adam Tipton, whose three Central Coast stores employ 26 people, said Brown’s signature endangers “not just my employees, but also my customers.”

The chain has stores in Santa Maria, Grover Beach and Pismo Beach.

Tipton’s comments were included in a news release from pet care advocates, including the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, criticizing the law.

“Animal Kingdom has had thousands of customers from all over California, other states and even other countries come to us because of our professionalism and animal care practices,” Tipton said in the written comment.

“For 22 years, our focus has been to choose happy and healthy pets for our customers. AB 485’s ban will leave us without a ready supply of pets.”

He claimed the law will allow unregulated breeders to flourish as customers find other sources for their pets.

“AB 485 risks customers’ ability to get the best pet for their circumstances,” Tipton added.

Animal Kingdom has been the target of protests by local animal advocates, who had urged the Santa Maria City Council to adopt a similar ordinance.

“This is a huge win for animal advocates everywhere, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that Gov. Brown has heard the people and signed this landmark bill,” said Cristine Collier, who has organized protests at Animal Kingdom.

“I hope this paves the way for other states to follow suit and end the demand for commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits in the states,” she added.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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