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New Bill Threatens The Supply of Pets in California (AB 485)

We've previously explored various topics as they relate to selling live animals in pet stores. While this discussion has mostly been put on pause in order to provide pet business education for pet retailers, distributors, and manufacturers alike, a recent bill proposed in California has brought a sense of emergency back to the equation.

A bill is currently being pushed in California to limit where aspiring pet owners can purchase their pets. This bill follows many others in states across the United States as pet activists spread their agenda across the nation. 


Here's what you need to know about California's latest attempt at restricting pet business' rights. 

The Pet Rescue Adoption Act

AB 485, The Pet Rescue Adoption Act, is the latest attempt at threatening the supply of adoptable pets in the state of California. This bill is sponsored by Patrick O’Donnell of the California State Assembly and requires all pet stores that sell dogs, cats and rabbits to only source these animals from rescue groups rather than breeders.

The bill stems from animal rights groups whose goal is to stop the operations of backyard breeders. However, according to Mike Bober, President of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, “Instead of addressing illegal and unethical breeding, they target the best regulated, most transparent source of pets – small, local pet stores."

Read More: Why Californians Need to Worry About AB 485, "The Pet Store Bill" (via AKC)

The Problem with AB 485

At first, the bill seems to tackle illegal backyard breeders; a concern that both animal rights activists and pet industry professionals share. Yet, it affects responsible pet stores by not allowing them to safely source and sell healthy animals to families and individuals looking for a pet.

While adopting a pet from the shelter should always be the first option for those looking to add a furry friend to their family, it's not always the best bet. This is because a rescue pet is not always a suitable option for everyone. Sheila Goffe, AKC Vice president of Government Relations explains that "many have special needs and requirements that may not fit into the owner’s lifestyle or ability to properly care for it."

When getting a new pet, a crucial factor in the decision process is lifestyle. Choosing a pet that matches your lifestyle is key to ensure a long-lasting relationship resulting in a forever home. However, the bill seeks to limit the freedom to choose a pet that fits particular lifestyles. Rather than restrict this freedom, Goffe suggests:

“A much smarter solution is to educate future pet owners about the demands of responsible pet ownership; support responsible breeders, including local breeders who breed high-quality pets; encourage public interaction with local breeders and other educated pet experts who can advise prospective owners; strongly enforce existing laws against negligence or cruelty; support the needs of our local shelters; and ensure access to a variety of pets so owners can make a good choice for their pet’s life-long success. “

O’Donnell released a statement blaming breeders as the cause of the overpopulation of pet shelters across America. This matter has several pet lovers concerned about the necessity to adopt, rather than purchase, a new pet (hence the campaign #AdoptDontShop).


Speaking of Overpopulation...

The thing is, animal shelters may not be as overcrowded as they seem. Recent reports explain dogs are being imported across United States borders from Mexico, Canada, and other countries. Spay and neuter laws and increased education on responsible pet ownership are working. Nonetheless, animal shelters are still claiming overpopulation. 

Related Article: Does Buying Pet Store Puppies Result in Overcrowding in Shelters?

While overpopulation is an issue among selective shelters, it's certainly not on the scale that activist groups would like pet owners to believe. However, inacting this bill and similar laws across the country, could result in two possibilities: 

  1. The supply of pets both at the state and national level (especially those that are sourced legally, with all restrictions in place)
  2. An increase in the number of pets in shelters

Bober insists that, rather than supporting animal adoptions and saving potentially hundreds to thousands of lives, the restriction instead "...makes it harder for prospective pet owners to find their ideal companions, which can actually increase the number of animals surrendered to shelters.” 

What Can I Do?

We are urging all dog and animal lovers in the state of California to get involved. It’s very easy to do so by clicking here to send a letter to the related assembly member.

To learn more about AB 485 and how well-run, responsible pet stores are operated in California, view the educational video below, put together by David Salinas of National City Puppy in the San Diego area.


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Ashley Hoffman – E-Commerce & Digital Marketing Manager joined the All Points family in 2015 and adds a little bit of fun to the team with her creativity and dumb jokes. Ashley is always on the lookout for the latest trends in marketing and applying it to how All Points does business. She is the blogging guru, social media master, e-commerce account management expert, and brand builder all in one. The best part is that she’s the loving owner of two beautiful cats named Kitty and Chewbacca.

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