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USA: California new law: a step forward for animals rights

Tuesday 1 January 2019, by siawi3


Californian law change means pet shops can sell only rescued animals

30 December 2018

Image caption It is hoped the law will encourage pet adoptions. Image copyright Getty Images

California is set to become the first state in the US to ban the sale of non-rescue animals in pet shops.

The new law, known as AB 485, takes effect on 1 January. Any businesses violating it face a $500 (£400) fine.

The change means cats, dogs and rabbits sold by retailers cannot be sourced from breeders, only from animal shelters.

Animal rights groups have heralded it as a step forward against so-called “kitten factories” and “puppy mills”.

They say the current “high-volume” industries, where pets are bred for profit, can lead to inhumane treatment and long-term emotional and physical health problems in some animals.

The new state-wide law, approved in late 2017, will now require shops to maintain sufficient records of where they sourced each animal, for periodic checks by authorities.

Also read
The story of a dog that sparked a campaign
The dogs without a home for Christmas

It does not, however, affect sales from private breeders or owner-to-owner sales.

Some Californian shop owners have raised concern the law could put them out of business. The measure has also seen resistance from the American Kennel Club, which said it limits pet owners.

According to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates, more than 6.5 million pets enter shelters across the country every year, of which about 1.5 million are put down.

Image caption It is estimated that more than than 860,000 cats are euthanised in the US every year. Image copyright Getty Images

The California assembly member who introduced the legislation, Patrick O’Donnell, has insisted the legislation is not just “a big win” for “four-legged friends”, but for California taxpayers too, as they spend hundreds of millions on sheltering animals across the state.

A couple hoping to adopt a cat from a San Diego shelter on Friday, told NBC News the move was a step forward for the state.

“It takes the emphasis off the profit of animals and puts the emphasis back on caring for and getting these cats and dogs a good home,” prospective owner Mitch Kentdotson said.

AB 485 is the first state-wide law of its kind, although other places have enacted similar regulations on pet sales on a local level.

Earlier this month, a similar ban on third-party puppy and kitten sales was confirmed in England.

Lucy’s law, named after a mistreated cavalier King Charles spaniel, also aims to combat low-welfare animal breeding.



Lucy’s Law : The story of the dog that sparked a campaign

22 August 2018


Image copyright Our dogs / Getty Images

When Lucy was rescued from a Welsh puppy farm five years ago, she was suffering.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s hips had fused together, she had a curved spine, bald patches and epilepsy after years of mistreatment.

She’d been kept in a cage much of her life and was no longer able to have puppies.

But the five-year-old went on to be re-homed by Lisa Garner - and now her story is helping to change the law.

Pet shops and dealers in England will be banned from selling puppies and kittens under government plans.

It’s after her story was the focus of the Lucy’s Law campaign - which has been calling for the ban to be implemented.

“It was clear from her physical condition that she had been subjected to appalling conditions,” said Lisa in an interview with the Mirror.

“However, with lots of patience, Lucy went on to enjoy a full, albeit far too short life, filled with happiness.”

Photo: Lucy had three years of love before she died in 2016.

It spurred Lisa on to launch a campaign to prevent poor treatment of dogs in puppy farming.

The ban has been backed by celebrities such as Ricky Gervais.

“Her body was broken when she was rescued at five years old,” vet Marc Abraham, who also helped launch the campaign, told BBC 5 Live.

“She had three years in freedom, being pampered and having a normal life as a pet.”We launched Lucy’s Law a year after her passing as a tribute to her and all the breeding dogs that are hidden from the public."

Dogs like Lucy are often kept by breeders to produce litters of puppies, which are then taken from their mothers at four or five weeks old, according to Marc.

The government’s decision is a triumph for Lucy, Lisa and Marc and has been welcomed by animal welfare charities.

’He was so weak’

Image caption Max needed help to swallow food until an operation could fix the problem. Image copyright RSPCA

Lucy’s story is not uncommon.

In 2015, one family in Sussex were tricked by someone selling what they believed to be a nine-week-old crossbreed puppy on a website.

They spent £470 on Max, a “cavapoo” (Cavalier King Charles mixed with a poodle) but which turned out to be a different mix entirely.

“We were so excited to have him home but, just 17 hours after he arrived, it all went wrong,” said Rebecca Reed.

Max wouldn’t eat but was drinking constantly and Rebecca was called home from work by her husband when the dog became seriously ill.

“He was like a wet blanket on the floor. He couldn’t even lift his head, he was so weak. It was heartbreaking,” Rebecca said.

A vet diagnosed Max with megaesophagus - a condition where dogs are unable to get food into their stomach.

’Better protection’

Rebecca tried to contact the seller to find out if any other puppies had the condition, but her calls were ignored.

She had to change her working hours to feed Max liquidised food and her husband built him a special chair to help him digest what he had eaten.

The family estimate caring for Max has cost them £5,000 because they had bought him from a seller who they say lied about the dog’s age, health and vaccination history.

“We believe that all puppies and kittens should be born and reared in a suitable environment, with their mother, and should be sold directly from their place of birth,” said RSPCA animal welfare expert Lisa Hens.

“We hope this move will offer better protection to puppies and their parents and reduce the number of families duped by rogue dealers in this illegal multi-million-pound industry.”