PIJAC released the following statement as the California Assembly Committee on Business and Professions prepared for today’s hearing on Assembly Bill 485, known as the Pet Rescue & Adoption Act.
“The responsible pet trade’s California members urge the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions to reject Assembly Bill 485,” said Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) President Mike Bober. “This bill guts California’s excellent pet and consumer protection regime by threatening to close ethical, highly-regulated retailers– and forcing prospective pet owners to source from shelters and rescues that often do great work to connect pets and people but are virtually unregulated.”
“California’s pet retailers are overseen by local municipalities, the state, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” continued Bober. “Federal law requires retailers to source from breeders licensed and inspected by the USDA, or from hobby breeders too small to qualify for licensure. Under AB 485, however, retailers would be required to source from shelters that have no such requirements – exposing customers to the kinds of risks seen in recent cases of shelterabuse and disease that a proper regulatory mechanism could have caught more quickly. AB 485 would also jeopardize warranty protections currently required of retailers, as the state could not reasonably require stores to warranty pets from shelters and rescues.”
According to Bober, shelters and retailers frequently serve different segments of the pet-owning public. “Consumers know that responsible retailers provide animals that best fit the needs and preferences of owners – cross-breeds and purebred dogs with hypoallergenic qualities, or dogs suitable to smaller living quarters, for just two examples,” he said. “By their nature, shelters often cannot know the genetic or breed backgrounds of the pets they provide. AB 485 denies prospective pet owners the freedom to choose the healthy pet that is best for the person’s lifestyle and needs.”
Bober closed by urging AB 485 sponsors and supporters to work with PIJAC and other bill opponents “to truly ensure that Californians are protected from unscrupulous actors.”
“On behalf of pets, the pet-owning public, and hard-working small businesses, PIJAC urges Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell and other supporters of AB 485 to work with responsible retailers, breeders, and other stakeholders, “said Bober. “Shutting down pet stores is irresponsible when there are ways for all Californians and their pets to benefit from improved breeding standards that protect animals and prospective pet owners alike.