Do you ever walk by a pet store and just melt over the sight of the puppies in the window? Their big eyes, soft ears, high-pitched barks… it's all so cute! But, there's an ugly side to the adorable puppies at pet shops — 99 percent of those puppies come from puppy mills, according to The Humane Society. Now, California is making sure all the puppies in the state aren't from mills. Legislators just passed a bill that says all dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores must come from animal shelters, not mills. It will go into effect on January 1, 2019.
Puppy mills are known for their horrendous conditions. "Mother dogs remain locked in cages their whole lives and have half the life expectancy of the average dog," The Humane Society states on its website. The website also says 20 percent of puppies born in mills die there.
While there are many dogs being mistreated and dying in mills, there are millions in shelters waiting for adoption. According American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' website, 6.5 million animals go into shelters each year. Of that 6.5 million, 1.5 million animals are euthanized. The bill, known as AB-485, states that Californian taxpayers spend $250 million each year to support these shelters to encourage adoption of these millions of animals.
The bill seems like a win for dogs and owners who want to buy their animals humanely, but there are opponents of the bill, including The American Kennel Club. In May, The American Kennel Club published an article opposing the bill. The article says animal adoption should be up to the individual, not the government. "The decision to acquire an appropriate pet should be made by consumers themselves," the article states.
The club also fears the bill could actually add to the already 6.5 million animals in animal shelters. "[The bill]... also increases the likelihood that a person will obtain a pet that is not a good match for their lifestyle and the likelihood that that animal will end up in a shelter." Although, it's important to note that though pet stores won't be able to sell dogs from breeders, people are still allowed to buy from private breeders on their own.
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AB-485 will go into effect on January 1, 2019, and store owners who violate the bill could be fined $500. Although this bill might not eliminate all inhumane puppy mills, it's a good start. The Humane Society estimates that there are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the United States.