California attempts to end animal malpractice

Columnist Alice Tennigkeit 

Columnist Alice Tennigkeit 

While the thought of furry, little puppies and kittens can bring a smile to just about anyone’s face, the horrific truth behind mass breeding has quite the opposite effect. California has announced itself the first state to ban mass breeding operations like puppy mills and kitten factories by creating a new law that demands pet shops only sell dogs, cats, and rabbits that are not a product of mass breeding. 

California legislature collectively agreed this inhumane practice needs to be stopped, so they have created a new law called the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act. Most pet stores receive their animals from a mass breeder. The main problem lies with puppy mills and kitten factories that mass breed desirable breeds to sell to pet shops purely with profit in mind. In these puppy mills and kitten factories ethics are skewed, with money being the sole motivation. 

This means less time and attention is given to the young animals and the more babies per litter the better, it could be days before someone notices a dead puppy or kitty in the same cage as the living pets. 

These mass breeders rarely provide sanitary conditions or even adequate veterinary care. As one can imagine, this assembly line style of pet breeding leads to many pets experiencing a very traumatic first few weeks. This can affect the pet it’s entire life making it harder to care for. 

If you ask pet owners how they value their pets, more often than not they will answer that their pets are part of the family. There are millions of dog and cat owners in the United States, but of these millions of owners, how many know the true story behind their pet’s infancy. 

In January 2019, California’s Pet Rescue and Adoption Act will require all pet shops selling dogs, cats, or rabbits to obtain their dogs, cats, and rabbits from animal shelters and other nonprofit animal rescue businesses. This great new law aims to put an end to the malpractices in mass breeding while in turn giving homes to the countless poor animals stuck in rescue centers. Unsurprisingly, the bill easily passed in California legislature as the Social Compassion advocacy group among multiple welfare, animal rescue, and shelter groups largely supported the measure. However, there are some groups and organizations who oppose the new law. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the California Retailers Association and the American Kennel Club organization are the largest opposers of the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act - maybe because this affects their profits. The American Kennel Club’s Vice President of Government Relations Sheila Goffe came out publicly with her disagreement. “AB 485 blocks all of California’s pet lovers from having access to professional, licensed, and ethical commercial breeders,” she said. 

“This is not good for Californians or their companion animals.” Furthermore, the American Kennel Club claims that the bill will lead to people buying and adopting pets that aren’t necessarily good matches for them resulting in more animals in shelters and other nonprofit animal rescue organizations. 

What the American Kennel Club might not realize is that, according to The Hill, this bill isn’t entirely new; across the nation there are more than 200 counties and cities with similar protective laws. More specifically, before the bill passed, California already had 36 cities that had banned puppy mills. On the contrary to what Goffe suggests, the bill was not passed to limit those wanting to become pet owners, but rather to increase adoptions for pets in need, and support local breeding businesses and nonprofit pet organizations. 

There are a myriad of independent and fully licensed ethical pet breeders in California. 

The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act is merely an attempt to end the inhumane practices of mass breeding while in turn giving homes to homeless pets and increasing support for local businesses and nonprofits.