California on the Verge of Far-Reaching Pet Sale Ban



Last week, the California state legislature passed the United States' first-ever statewide ban on the sale of non-rescue, non-shelter dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores (Assembly Bill 485), which is now awaiting Governor Jerry Brown's signature or veto. The governor has until October 15 to make a decision but has given no indication of which way he is leaning. If the bill is signed, the ban would go into effect on January 1, 2019.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) is urging industry members to reach out  and tell Gov. Brown to veto the bill, pointing out that such a ban would have far-reaching consequences for everyone in the pet care market. According to PIJAC, Assemly Bill 485 will:

• "Deny [California residents] 17 out of 21 consumer protections at pet stores – most of which have been in place since 1996. Pet lovers deserve to know the medical history of their prospective pet, and to have recourse under certain circumstances if the pet is ill or dies due to illness."

• "Put pet stores out of business. Hundreds of pet professionals’ jobs are at risk—even though pet stores are the most regulated group of pet providers. The bill requires stores to only sell cats, dogs, and rabbits from rescues and shelters—but it does not require shelters and rescues to provide animals to stores."

• "Restrict Californians’ ability to find the pet that best fits their needs and lifestyles. Rescues and shelters often do great work, but may not have the companion animal that best fits the lifestyle or need of California’s pet owners. Pet stores often are critical partners in connecting families with the right pet for their circumstances."

• "Stigmatize pet stores as disreputable partners in pet care. Federal law prohibits pet stores from sourcing from unlicensed commercial breeders, and existing California law further holds them accountable."

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