Calif. passes law targeting puppy mills, bans sale of non-rescue animals at pet stores

A California law passed in 2017 took effect this year, prohibiting pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits unless the animal is obtained through a rescue organization.
“It’s a wonderful thing if shelter pets can find a home,” said Heather Severt, West Virginia state director for the Humane Society of the United States.
Severt said she hasn’t read the specifics of the California law (A.B. 485), but that the law in general sounds like something the Humane Society would support. There are no plans to introduce a similar law in the 2019 legislative session, she said.
The Monongalia County Canine Adoption Center had more than 1,500 dogs and cats brought in during 2018, said Dana Johnson, county dog warden supervisor.
She said of the 647 dogs brought to the center, 126 dogs were adopted, 111 were euthanized and 169 were returned to their owners. The rest were saved by rescue organizations, such as Mountaineers for Mutts and Animal Friends of North Central West Virginia.
Far more cats were killed than dogs. Johnson said 877 cats, 622 of which were strays, were brought into the center, and 498 of those were euthanized.
Severt said it’s impossible to know how many animals pass through shelter doors each year in West Virginia because there is little oversight of shelters. Additionally, many counties — including Lincoln, McDowell, Monroe and Summers — don’t even have shelters.
California’s pet store law, as it’s commonly known, could help save some of those lives, but a bigger priority would be a law that mandates people spay and neuter their animals, said Emily Sanders, owner of Exotic Jungle, a pet store on the Mileground.
“For West Virginia, that’s our biggest issue,” she said.
No pet store should sell cats or dogs but should instead use the space to host adoption events, Sanders said. Exotic Jungle hosts a cat adoption group twice a month and will host a dog adoption  Jan. 26, she said.

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