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Local businesses feel impact of new pet store law

Posted: 7:11 PM, Jan 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-04 23:05:26-05

California pet stores will now face penalties if they sell dogs, cats, or rabbits that do not come from shelters or rescue organizations.

The change comes from the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act , which was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown in October 2017. Starting January 1, 2019, pet stores needed to be in compliance with the law.

If pet stores aren’t in compliance with the law, they could face a $500 fine. It’s meant to crack down on so-called “kitten factories” and “puppy mills.”

“The inherent challenge with pet stores is that they were often sourcing from these puppy mills that were just not providing humane treatment and nor were the animals particularly healthy or well-bred,” said Jill Tucker, Executive Director of Woods Humane Society.

San Luis Obispo County Animal Services Manager Eric Anderson says a majority of pet shops on the Central Coast were already in compliance with the law. A handful of stores like Animal Kingdom Pet Shop, with three locations on the Central Coast, are likely needing major changes since the new law passed.

“The impacts on animal welfare is going to be felt somewhat here but also in a bigger sense, in other areas in the country where we’re looking to move these animals out of these puppy mills and large-scale production facilities and to more compassionate breeding operations,” Anderson said.

Animal Kingdom is well-known for selling in-demand puppies for thousands of dollars. Owners of the business did not respond to requests for comment on Friday, but when a KSBY news crew stopped by their Grover Beach location, nearly every cage was empty. All but two puppies were gone.

The Pet Industry Advisory Council claims the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act takes away a Californian’s choice of pet, calling it well-intentioned but misguided.

Local animal advocates hope the law will push families to opt for adoption.

“California shelters are still experiencing overcrowding and there is definitely euthanasia of animals that are adoptable throughout our state,” said Tucker.

AB 485 does not apply to private breeders, which is good news for families who are still looking for a particular breed.