Success! California Pet Stores Will Now Only Be Offering Rescued Animals

Animal advocates are celebrating a major win for companion animals with a new law in California that has made it the first in the nation to ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits unless they come from shelters or rescues.

According to lawmakers, California taxpayers are spending more than $250 million dollars every year to house and kill animals in local shelters, while commercial breeders across the country continue to add to the problem by mass producing more and more to meet the demand for puppies and kittens.

Now, however, the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, which went into effect on January 1, is going to help stop that vicious cycle.

While many continue to defend pet store sales, arguing that animals come from breeders who are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the standards they have to meet are absurdly low and problems surrounding large-scale commercial breeding operations, otherwise known as puppy mills, continue to be brought to light.

Dogs can be kept in cages only a few inches longer than their bodies for their entire lives, cages can be stacked with wire floors and dogs can be bred as often as they can be to maximize profits. Unfortunately, there’s little regard for health and behavioral issues caused by large-scale breeding and sadly, multiple investigations and inspections have continued to find even more ongoing problems related to care ranging from overcrowding and unsanitary conditions to a lack of food, water and veterinary care.

Under the state’s new law, pet stores will only be allowed to obtain animals from rescues or shelters, and they’ll need to provide information about where they come from. Anyone found violating the law will now be facing a $500 fine for each animal.

More than 30 cities in California have already acted to ban the retail sale of dogs and cats to address these problems, and now supporters of this new law hope that taking it statewide will help crack down on those notorious puppy and kitten mills by closing a huge market for the animals they produce. Not only will this help save the lives of adoptable animals in need of homes and reduce the demand for more from breeders, it will help protect consumers, and relieve taxpayers.

While the bill did face some heavy opposition, it also received widespread support from both animal advocacy organizations and the public – nearly 70,000 people signed the Care2 petition urging California lawmakers to pass it.

Thanks to public pressure like that, more and more cities and states have either passed, or are considering passing, similar legislation to protect both animals and consumers.

If you want your city or state to be the next to take a compassionate and common-sense stand for companion animals by banning retail sales of animals in pet stores, you can help by starting a petition.


Photo credit: Getty Images


Mark D
Mark Donner1 months ago

USDA is behind the puppy mills. USDA is committing a LOT of crimes, including poisoning our crops, which kills millions of wildlife and occasionally dogs and children.

Pietro M
Pietro Maiorana2 months ago

La grande partecipazione è stata fondamentale, bravi!!!

Jessica C
Jessica C2 months ago

AWESOME job California!! Let's get the rest of the states to do the same!! Also Oregon is trying to get the state animal as the rescue animal!

Leo C
Leo Custer2 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

Madison I
Madison Idso2 months ago

Read the fine print and not all animals are included such as bird! The law already needs an amendment.

Chad Anderson
Chad A2 months ago

Thank you.

hELEN h2 months ago


Barbara I
Barbara I2 months ago

I just found out this doesn't apply to birds! I wonder how many other species are excluded. Please adopt and don't shop! Bird sanctuaries are full!

Karen N
Karen N2 months ago

Good on California! . . . This should happen worldwide! . . . Furthermore, pet shops and stores do not have a 'genuine' concern for animals, they are not in business for the purpose of animal welfare they are in business for the purpose of treating them as 'objects' and 'commodities' for business and profit. Animals are 'sentient living beings', they are not 'objects' to be exploited and treated as commodities. Pet shops and stores should only be allowed to sell pet requirements . . . NOT animals or any other living creatures. Anyone can go into a pet shop or store and buy an animal on a whim which is so wrong and therefore totally unacceptable because as we know there are many people that are not suitable to own pets. For the welfare of the animals and other creatures anyone considering a pet should be assessed as to whether they will make responsible caring pet owners, therefore any pets should only be acquired from reputable adoption and rescue centres where new owners can be monitored and educated on how to properly care for their new pet(s), the requirements they need and any possible veterinary costs involved.

Michael F
Michael F2 months ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!