California’s New Pet Rescue and Adoption Act Sets Precedent for Other States

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California’s New Pet Rescue and Adoption Act Sets Precedent for Other States

Puppy Kennels at Puppy Love

Puppy Kennels at Puppy Love

Puppy Kennels at Puppy Love

Puppy Kennels at Puppy Love

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Every year, over six million animals enter animal shelters in the United States.  In order to combat growing stray rates and unethical breeding practices, California has passed legislation requiring pet stores to sell only animals from shelters, paving the way for future laws in other states.

The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act was proposed by California State Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell and went into effect January 1 after being signed by Governor Jerry Brown.  Both O’Donnell and Brown are part of the Democratic Party. The law requires that pet stores to only sell rescued dogs, cats, and rabbits from non-profit organizations. Businesses that do not have paperwork verifying the animal’s origin will be fined $500 per animal.

Reportedly, over $250 million are spent on housing and veterinary costs for strays in California shelters.  This new law will help cut these costs, saving taxpayer dollars.

“I think the law is definitely a positive step towards lowering stray rates, but it most importantly signifies the community’s dedication to respond to all needs,” said Gemma Fa-Kaji, a Senior at Berkeley High School in California.

There have been concerns expressed about this new legislation putting small breeders out of business.  The law does not prohibit customers from directly purchasing animals from breeders but is instead trying to cut down on unethical breeding programs, such as puppy mills and kitten factories.

Puppy mills and kitten factories are mass breeding facilities that are focused on producing as many animals as possible.  Animals are often kept in extremely unsanitary conditions and suffer from numerous health problems in the effort to maximize profits.

Currently, Virginia does not have any laws requiring the sale of shelter animals in pet stores.  Most local pet stores, such as Puppy Love, claim to get their animals through breeders.

Puppy Love is located in the Valley View Mall in Roanoke, VA.  They claim that all their puppies are supplied by USDA certified breeders.  The puppies for sale are kept in glass cases lined with paper shavings and have small profiles of animal taped to the front of the case.  They offer a wide range of breeds, from Shiba Inus to Bichapoos.

“All of our puppies stay with us until they find their forever home,” said Danielle from Puppy Love.

Unfortunately, there are many animals in the local community that have yet to find their forever home. Currently, the Montgomery County Animal Care and Adoption Center houses over 120 animals.  The center is located at 480 Cinnabar Rd in Christiansburg in a new facility that was built four years ago. The shelter runs on a no-kill policy. Dogs and cats arrive there for a variety of reasons, whether it be owner surrender or a stray pick up by animal control.

In order to keep up with the constant flow of animals, the center heavily relies on the help of volunteers.  Kaya Windpainter, Senior, has been volunteering at the center for over two years. She often helps run the front desk and has first-hand experience with the intake and adoption of animals.

“Shelter dogs often get a bad reputation from the few violent cases we get.  Most people assume that all dogs in the shelter are like that,” said Windpainter

When looking for an animal companion, especially a dog, people oftentimes follow breed fads.  This leads to a high demand for certain types of dogs that are usually only found in pet stores or with breeders.

“The problem is shelters don’t have what puppy mills or breeders can provide.  The hard thing is there is such a high demand for puppies, and most of the time we don’t have any.  We do try to actively steer people away from breeders because we have plenty of dogs that need homes, and improper breeding practices could lead to dogs with more health problems,” said Windpainter.

Windpainter believes that a future law similar to the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act in California would most definitely help minimize the population of unwanted dogs and cats in Virginia.  Simply put, she believes that there already is a large population of unwanted animals in the community, and the best solution is to help find homes for the animals already out there instead of breeding more.  

Readers interested in learning more about the Montgomery County Animal Care and

Adoption Center can visit their website: or call (540) 382-5795.