The capital of California has adopted a measure to make sure only rescue dogs, cats, and rabbits are sold at pet stores.
In keeping up with this progressive movement to put an end to puppy mills, the city of Sacramento, California’s capital, has now banned pet stores from sourcing their animals from anywhere but shelters. The move has been heralded by animal rights groups who are pressuring more cities and even states to change their laws and help end puppy mills and backyard breeding.
Sacramento passed this law as an official way to keep their current and future pet stores in check, but all of their stores except for one were actually already practicing this rule. That means that the last pet store, who refused to make a statement for the media except to say that they were against the ordinance, will now also be banned from the commercial sale of cats, dogs, and rabbits.
“In many cities, animals are brought in from other states, from ‘puppy mills,’ where they live a horrific life — especially the breeder mothers, in cages their entire lives,” said Gina Knepp, director of Front Street Animal Shelter, a local shelter in Sacramento.
Puppy mills are places that force females to mate and become pregnant over and over until they are past the age to do so, at which point they are often disposed of cruelly. The mills are usually filthy and the dogs go uncared for, except to keep them barely alive, and animal rights groups are often called in to raid a puppy mill that’s in horrible condition to save the animals. The puppies that are sold usually have some type of illness, either early on in life or something that’s not noticed until years later.
Backyard breeding is a term that’s used for a puppy mill or just a regular breeder that’s not reputable who forces the dogs to inbreed, which causes deformities and fatal illnesses. The puppies that are born with deformities are discarded or, if they’re lucky, they’re taken to a shelter where their chances of adoption are slim.
Pet stores that sell puppies or kittens that aren’t from shelters usually source them from these horrible places, even if they claim that they don’t, or sometimes the practice is genuinely unbeknownst to them; either way, it’s unethical and that’s why so many cities are pushing to stop the commercial sale of these animals to lessen the amount of animals that are bred this way.
Enacting this law not only prevents future animals from being used in this way, but it also prevents the euthanasia of many animals in shelters. Approximately 2 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the U.S. alone, but if more pet stores take in these animals and get them adopted out, less will be killed simply because there is no room for them.
The law was passed on Tuesday night but it’s unclear exactly when it will go into effect. Sacramento now joins the ranks of 213 other cities across the U.S. that have passed this law, and hopefully they are just one of many to do so in the near future.