Culture

California Proposal Would Force Pet Stores to Sell Only Rescue Pets

(Shutterstock)

There’s been a push for a long time now to get people to adopt rescued cats and dogs instead of buying them from a pet store. There are a lot of reasons to do so, but it’s ultimately been up to each individual to decide for themselves. Since no one is being hurt, that’s kind of the way it should be.

Now, the state of California is considering a move that would take that choice out of your hands by requiring pet stores to sell only rescue animals.

California may ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits unless they are rescue animals under a bill passed by the state Assembly on Tuesday.

Lawmakers voted 44-6 to send the measure to the state Senate. The bill by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell aims to prevent California pet stores from selling animals bred in puppy mills and other mass-breeding operations. Such operations are primarily clustered in the Midwest and house animals in “disturbingly unsanitary and overcrowded conditions,” the Long Beach Democrat said.

The bill, AB485, would allow California residents to purchase animals directly from breeders, where they have a better opportunity to see the living conditions of the animals. It would prohibit pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits unless they were obtained from an animal shelter or nonprofit rescue organization. Supporters of the bill said the measure will also help unwanted animals find homes.

More than 30 cities and counties in the state have already restricted pet store sales of non-rescue animals. Several lawmakers representing cities and counties with those rules spoke in support of the measure.

Look, I support people adopting rescue animals. Every pet I’ve ever had was either a rescue animal or from a friend who didn’t want to have to take the pet to a shelter (thus making it a rescued animal as well). I think a store that wanted to sell nothing but rescued animals would be an awesome thing and I’d hope to see the idea branch out from coast to coast.

But that’s free enterprise. What California is doing isn’t. This is telling stores they can’t sell a product that is legal everywhere else in the country.

As I’ve said, I get the arguments in favor of rescue pets. I really do. However, this boils down to the most fundamental right anyone can have: the right to do things people believe make you an ass. Without that right, you have no rights at all.

By seeking to require pet stores to sell only rescue animals, they are infringing upon that right, and the slippery slope is laid for still more restrictions on legal products. Then again, this is California. They’ve been partying on that slippery slope for years.