California pet stores will soon only be allowed to sell dogs, cats and rabbits if they come from shelters or nonprofit rescue organizations.
Under legislation that comes into effect on January 1, store operators will also have to be able to provide records of origin for animals or face a $500 penalty per animal.
The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act was introduced by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell and signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown in October 2017.
Under the law, individuals are still allowed to buy from private breeders, but stores are not allowed to do so.
In a press release issued at the time, O’Donnell touted the law as the end of “puppy mills” and “kitten mills.” California is the first state in the country to introduce such legislation.
O’Donnell called the law a “huge win for our four-legged friends” and also for taxpayers, who he said spent more than $250 million a year housing and euthanizing shelter animals.
The law specifies that pet store operators can only sell dogs, cats and rabbits from a public animal control agency or shelter, a society shelter for the prevention of cruelty to animals, a human society shelter or a rescue group in cooperation with an animal shelter.
It requires that “every pet store keep records sufficient to document the source of each dog, cat or rabbit that the pet store sells or provides space for at least one year, and to display, in a conspicuous place on the cage or enclosure. of each animal, a sign indicating the name of the entity from which each dog, cat or rabbit was obtained.
Stores will also be required to give public animal control agencies or shelters periodic access to these records.