In an effort to reduce the number of animals in shelters and curb the support of breeding mills, California’s governor just signed into law legislation prohibiting pet stores in the state from selling any cats, dogs, or rabbits. Instead, pet stores can host adoptable animals who come from rescue groups or shelters.

Stores that are caught selling these animals from breeders or breeding mills will face a $500 fine per animal.

dog animal shelter

Dog in a Shelter | Spot Us | CC BY-SA 2.0 

This is a huge step in the right direction for animals and will save countless lives! The historic new rule will go into effect in 2019, making California the first state to enact such a law.

Every year, 3 to 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters, mostly for lack of good homes. “No-kill” shelters, which don’t euthanize animals, often warehouse them in cages for months or years on end, or their staff turn dogs and cats away because the cages are full. There’s only one real solution to the homeless-animal overpopulation crisis: preventing more dog and cat births.

cat animal shelter

Sabinka | Sir_Iwan | CC by 2.0 

What’s the Difference Between ‘Buying’ and ‘Adopting’ an Animal?

Animal shelters charge adoption fees, but that’s not the same as buying an animal. Here’s why:

Shelter adoption fees contribute to the cost of the animals’ food, medical care, spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, microchipping, and other things that they need. In other words, your money is going toward helping animals. On the other hand, when you give your money to pet stores or breeders, they use it to breed and abuse more animals. Which would you rather support?

While pet stores’ goal is to make money, animal shelters’ goal is to save lives and prevent suffering. Shelters take in unwanted, stray, and abandoned animals. They provide them with veterinary care, food, water, and shelter and find them loving homes.

Animal shelters also carefully screen potential adopters (unlike pet stores and breeders), making sure that the animals are going to safe homes and to people who can care for them properly.

What About Reptiles and Small Animals?

Unfortunately, California’s new law will apply only to cats, dogs, and rabbits. It doesn’t help animals such as rats, hamsters, birds, reptiles, amphibians, or other species commonly sold in pet stores.

pet store suppliers, pet store cruelty, petsmart, petco

Small and “exotic” animals sold in pet stores are bred in large-scale breeding mills and kept in tiny, filthy cages or bins. Breeding-mill owners often deny veterinary care to sick and injured animals or cruelly kill them.

Rats' Unexplained Deaths Point to Disease

Breeding mill employees stuff the animals inside plastic bottles, milk jugs, mesh bags, or plastic containers resembling “to-go” boxes as if they were objects and ship them to stores such as Petco and PetSmart.

These aren’t isolated incidents. PETA has conducted six different investigations, which have revealed that this is “normal” treatment for reptiles and other animals in the pet industry.

What You Can Do

Always adopt, and never buy any animal. No matter what state you live in, whatever species you’re looking for—dogs, cats, and rabbits of all ages and breeds as well as mice, guinea pigs, reptiles, and others—are available at animal shelters.

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