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California LegislatureState government

California becomes the first state to require pet stores to sell rescue animals

 (Courtney Case / Associated Press)
(Courtney Case / Associated Press)

California will be the first state to require pet stores to sell rescue animals under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday.

Starting in 2019, pet stores will transition to selling dogs, cats and rabbits from shelters or adoption centers. Stores can be fined $500 for each animal for sale that is not a rescue. 

“This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course," said bill author Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) in a statement. 

The bill, AB 485, is aimed at reducing the number of animals in shelters and businesses with mass breeding operations, known as "puppy mills" or "kitten factories."

The advocacy group Social Compassion in Legislation and multiple animal rescue, welfare and shelter groups supported the measure. 

The American Kennel Club and California Retailers Assn. were among the groups that opposed it. 

“AB 485 blocks all of California’s pet lovers from having access to professional, licensed, and ethical commercial breeders,” said Sheila Goffe, vice president of government relations for the kennel club, in a statement. “This is not good for Californians or their companion animals.”

UPDATE

7:06 p.m.: This post was updated with a statement from a group that opposed the bill. 

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