AB 485, known as The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, was approved almost unanimously (10-1) by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. Introduced by California Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell, AB 485 “will require all dogs, cats, and rabbits offered for retail sale to be obtained solely from public or private animal shelters located in California and nonprofit rescue groups,” according to PR Newswire. This bill not only targets puppy mills, but also backyard breeders, said The Catington Post.
Any type of animal mill – be it canine, feline or rabbit – “manufactures” companion animals purely for profit. Animal mill operators have no special fondness for animals or a particular breed. Greed drives this industry. The animals they “produce” are mere commodities; and because they are perceived as such, operators want to minimize costs, thereby increasing their profit margin.
That means only the most minimum of care is provided to the animals; just enough to keep them alive to produce, produce, produce. Females are bred for profit, over and over again. When they can no longer produce, they’re killed. They live in deplorable conditions and rarely (if ever) receive veterinary care. Last Chance Animals and The Blue Dog provide good descriptions about puppy mills, in particular.
Pet stores owners, such as David Salinas, who had owned and operated multiple pet shops around San Diego County, count on unsuspecting consumers and the impulse-buying public to be overcome by cute, fluffy puppies, kittens and rabbits in their nicely adorned windows to entice them to come in and make a purchase.
Evidence obtained by the San Diego Animal Defense Team showing where Salinas obtained puppies with which he lined his shelves, as well as the animal abuse conviction of pet shop owner, Johnson Le, is indicative that animal safety, health and welfare occupy the same place on pet store owners’ list of priorities as that of animal mill operators.
The trend of banning the retail sales of companion animals that come from animal mills is not new. More and more local jurisdictions have passed similar legislation – most notably in California, New Jersey and Florida. Pet stores or pet shops, upon which animal mills have relied to sell their “goods,” are increasingly becoming scarce. That means it becomes less profitable for animal mills.
If AB 485 passes and signed into law, California will be the first state to stand up against an industry rooted in greed. Hopefully, in time, more states will follow suit, making it so unprofitable for animal mill operators that they will just be a blemish in our history.
[T]he goal of the bill is not only to increase the number of rescued animals in need of homes who find them, but to strike to the heart of so much animal suffering: their commodification. When there is profit to be made on the backs of animals, history shows that those backs are often strained and broken. Commercial breeding mills fuel inbreeding, provide minimal to no veterinary care, lack of adequate food and shelter, lack of human socialization, overcrowded cages, and cause neglect, abuse, and the killing of animals when they are no longer profitable. If it passes, it will be a major victory everywhere. As California goes, so eventually goes the nation.”
Those in favor of helping make that happen are asked to sign and share this petition on O’Donnell’s website.
Those residing in California are asked to contact your legislators and urge them to sponsor and vote “yes” on AB 485. To find your representative, click here.
Featured image: Screenshot image courtesy of YouTube video, Puppy Mills and Pet Stores