Sacramento, CA October 13, 2017 - A landmark bill banning the sale of mill-bred dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown today. In addition to the ban, AB 485, introduced by Assemblymembers Patrick O'Donnell (D-Long Beach) and Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills), and sponsored by Social Compassion In Legislation (SCIL), will require that stores offer dogs, cats, and rabbits from shelters and rescue groups. The signing of AB 485 makes California the first state in the country to enact a policy of this kind and will eliminate the trafficking of mill-bred animals into California pet stores.
"This is an exciting day for pets in California," Assemblymember O'Donnell said. "I am very grateful for the strong support we received from animal-lovers across the state and from Social Compassion in Legislation, the bill's sponsor. This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course, but also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters."
The bill comes on the heels of similar local bans approved in various communities throughout California, including some of the first local ordinances in West Hollywood and the City of Los Angeles which were also driven by Social Compassion in Legislation.
"When we began the effort to sponsor legislation to codify these local ordinances into state law earlier this year many people said it couldn't get done and that the timing was not right," said Judie Mancuso, Founder and CEO, Social Compassion in Legislation. Yet, since the bills introduction in February, under the leadership of Mancuso, SCIL worked tirelessly with Assemblymember O'Donnell to build a broad coalition including local governments, public and private animal shelters, pet stores, rescue groups, and animal welfare advocates. Facing significant opposition in the Assembly, the bill ultimately garnered broad bipartisan support, and in the end passed the Senate with no opposition.
AB 485 also enjoyed a significant number of co-authors before proceeding to the Governor, including: Senators Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) and Bill Monning (D-Carmel), Assemblymembers: Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona), Rocky Chavez (R-Oceanside), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), and Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) - for an impressive list of bipartisan support.
"By signing into law the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, California is setting an example on how businesses, local animal shelters, and rescue groups can work together toward a common goal: ending the inhumane treatment of animals at puppy mills and the unnecessary euthanasia of pets at shelters," remarked Assemblymember Dababneh. "While we celebrate this win today, it's important to recognize there's still a lot of work to be done to increase the standards of animal welfare. I look forward to a continued partnership with Social Compassion in Legislation and other animal rights organizations as we make progress on these important issues."
Since 2008, 36 local jurisdictions in California have adopted similar bans on the sales of commercially bred animals in their local retail pet stores, including Sacramento, San Diego, Irvine, Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and Ventura County. SCIL surveyed every registered pet store in the state of California in March 2017 and found less than 10% of the pet stores in California
continued to sell out-of-state, commercially bred animals. The majority of retail pet stores in California have already shifted to the "humane model" familiar to patrons of such stores as Healthy Spot, who's owner Andrew Kim gave compelling testimony in both the Assembly and Senate hearings in support of the bill.
"I am thrilled to hear that AB 485 is now California law and codifies the best business practice of a humane pet store. We know this humane model can be successful because this is how we have operated our stores since day one and are thriving without the need to sell a single animal.
Now banning an outdated business practice of selling pets will positively impact our community, reduce overcrowding in the shelters and provide more adoption options through rescue partners. Making AB 485 the law was the right and smart business decision for California so that our pets, businesses and communities can benefit," said Andrew Kim, Founder and CEO, Healthy Spot.
"The California Animal Control Directors Association (CACDA) applauds Governor Brown's signing of AB 485 and believes that the restriction of the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet shops to only those that come from shelter or rescue organizations will decrease the demand for these animals bred in commercial mills and increase the adoption of animals from animal shelters", said Henry Brzezinski, CACDA'S Legislative Chair. "This law will further aid animal welfare agencies in their mission to save more lives."
"We are overjoyed with the Governor's signature and broad support from the entire animal-loving community for this groundbreaking legislation," said Mancuso. "In banning the sale of mill-bred animals, California took a bold step forward. The deplorable conditions that animals suffer in these high-volume breeding facilities are not a secret and now they have a champion in California."
Amitis Ariano, Simone Reyes, Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell, Judie Mancuso, Henry Brzezinski, Katie Cleary, Assemblymember Matt Dababneh, Dr. Karen Halligan, Kenn Altine, Andrew Kim