To The Rescue: California First State That Orders Pet Stores To Sell ‘Only’ Rescued Animals

Animal lovers in California, and their furry companions, are celebrating the passing of AB 485. Opponents of the controversial legislation targeting pet stores are not.

On Friday, with the stroke of a pen, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 485 into law. In doing so, he put puppy mills and kitten factories on notice that their days are numbered.

The passing of the anti-animal abuse bill marked an important milestone for the state: it became the first state in the country to require pet stores and retailers to offer only rescued animals in certain breeds for sale.

The bill’s chief architect, California Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), announced the news of pet store reform on Twitter.

According to a press release from O’Donnell’s website, AB 485, or the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, will mandate that pet stores or any legal entities in the state offering animals for sale offer breeds from animal shelters or not-for-profit rescue agencies. The new law only applies to dogs, cats, and rabbits. It’s unclear why these breeds were singled out.

O’Donnell said the new legislation is a win for two target groups: “four-legged friends” and for California taxpayers, who often subsidize the $250 million in costs to shelter and euthanize animals. Proponents hope the new pro-pet law thwarts the proliferation and demand for animal trafficking, where operators often house prospective pets in enclosures rife with disease and under abusive conditions.


PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, joined in the celebration of California’s AB 485 passage for pet stores, calling it “huge news for animals,” according to Buzz Feed.


The activist group is a strong voice against what it calls “puppy pipelines” and underground mills that offer “designer dogs.” In those particular environments, canines are apparently abused for trade, as the group described on its PETA official site.

“Constant confinement and a lack of adequate veterinary care and socialization often result in unhealthy animals who are difficult to socialize. Consequently, many puppies are abandoned within weeks or months of their adoption by frustrated buyers — further exacerbating the tragic companion-animal overpopulation crisis.”

A caretaker of Bouviers des Flandres dogs charged that Hollywood is complicit in the adulteration and illegal sale of dog breeds. The unnamed critic says box office mania fuels demand for manufactured dogs and creates overnight black markets with the making of every movie.

“Not surprising” to some, the American Kennel Club, or AKC, spoke out against AB 485. Sheila Goffe, vice president of government relations for the kennel club, released a statement decrying the bill’s passage.

“AB 485 blocks all of California’s pet lovers from having access to professional, licensed, and ethical commercial breeders. This is not good for Californians or their companion animals.”


According to the Legislative Information website, California AB 485 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Any pet store or licensed entity will be fined $500 for non-compliance of the new law.

[Featured Image by Voren1/iStock by Getty Images]