Californian Pet Shops Can Now Only Sell Rescued Animals

by : Francesca Donovan on : 31 Dec 2018 14:10
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California will become the first state in the US to ban the sale of non-rescue animals in pet shops, in news which is sure to warrant a celebratory boop with your beloved pets.

The new law takes effect on the first day of January, marking 2019 as the year of the rescue.


Any business violating the law, known as AB 485, faces a $500 (£400) fine. In other words, pet shops are now only permitted to sell rescue animals.

The change means cats, dogs and rabbits sold by retailers cannot be sourced from breeders, only from animal shelters. Animal rights groups have praised the law as a step forward against so-called ‘kitten factories’ and ‘puppy mills’.

They say the current ‘high-volume’ industries, where pets are bred for profit, can lead to inhumane treatment and long-term emotional and physical health problems in some animals.


UNILAD investigated puppy farms right here in the UK and discovered how animals are kept in grim environments while a breeding ‘bitch’ is forcefully impregnated over and over and over again – with little or no time to recover.

This means most puppies purchased from puppy farms die incredibly quickly, often just hours after a purchase is made by an unsuspecting animal lover.

RSPCA Chief Inspector, Ian Briggs, told UNILAD:


I’ve worked for the RSPCA for 24 years now and I’ve never seen an area of animal crime explode in the way that puppy farming has over the last five years. There are more and more people getting involved and it just seems to be feeding the demand for these dogs.

It’s run very similar to drug dealing except without the risk, and nearly quite as lucrative. Because if you bring in hundreds or thousands of dogs throughout the year and you can sell each one for anywhere between 500 and a thousand pounds for a minimal outlay that’s high profit and that’s what drives this business.

The California assembly member who introduced the legislation in the US state, Patrick O’Donnell – a Very Good Man, I’m sure – hopes this will put a stop to the practice.

He also insisted the legislation is not just ‘a big win’ for four-legged friends, but for California taxpayers too, as they spend hundreds of millions on sheltering animals across the state.


The new state-wide law, approved in late 2017, will now require shops to maintain sufficient records of where they sourced each animal, for periodic checks by authorities.

It does not, however, put restrictions on sales from private breeders or owner-to-owner sales.

The law, which was passed in 2017, has received some resistance both from Californian pet shop owners who claim it could put them out of business and the American Kennel Club, which said it limits pet owners.


According to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates, more than 6.5 million pets enter shelters across the country every year, of which about 1.5 million are put down.

Earlier this month, a similar ban on third-party puppy and kitten sales called Lucy’s Law was confirmed in England, named after a mistreated Cavalier King Charles spaniel, who sadly passed away in December 2016.

Lucy’s human, Lisa Garner told UNILAD:

I think most people, or you’d like to think all people that love dogs, would never knowingly support puppy farming so it’s just important to really highlight who are the dogs behind these cute puppies that you’re buying.

Let’s hope other American states and beyond take note and put an end to this abuse.

If you have a story you want to tell, share it with UNILAD via [email protected]

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Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.

Topics: Animals