A new law has been signed in California to ban pet stores from selling animals that come from puppy mills. It’s the first law of its kind in the US and ensures that pet stores work alongside shelters, rescue homes, and humane breeders if they want to sell animals.
Governor of California Jerry Brown announced last Friday that by January 1, 2019, anyone found selling dogs, cats, and rabbits from mills could face a fine up to $500.
There have been several horror stories about puppy mills in America. In fact, earlier this year it was reported that 105 dogs were rescued from an illegal kennel just outside Charlotte in North Carolina, where an unlicensed breeder named Patricia Yates had been breeding dogs for years. She was later charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty. Puppy mills like Yates’ have been described as “the secret shame of the pet industry”.
Puppy mills have always been controversial due to the terrible conditions the animals are kept in, their lack of care for the animals’ health, and the irresponsible breeding that takes place within them.
President and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Matt Bershadker, told Business Insider, “This landmark law breaks the puppy mill supply chain that pushes puppies into California pet stores and has allowed unscrupulous breeders to profit from abusive practices.”
“By signing this groundbreaking bill, California has set an important, humane precedent for other states to follow,” added Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society. “We commend Governor Brown’s signing of this lifesaving legislation to codify statewide what cities across California have already done to help put an end to the cruelty of pet mills.”
Although some stores claim to only sell puppies from independent and licensed breeders, there are a large number of pet stores in the US still supplying customers with puppies, and even kittens, from mills.
Animals in these mills are usually kept in overcrowded conditions, with very little food and water. They can also suffer from serious problems, like mental instability or aggression, as a result of their traumatic early lives.