California Action Alert: AB 485 to be Voted on Today

The American Kennel Club (AKC) emphatically supports freedom of choice in selecting a pet. AKC actively promotes efforts to ensure that people are educated, understand the demands of responsible ownership and have access to a pet that is right for them.

AKC Government Relations has learned that Assembly Bill 485—which seeks to prohibit pet retailers from selling pets (including dogs, cats and rabbits) unless the animals were obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, a shelter maintained by a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, a humane society shelter, or a nonprofit rescue or adoption organization—is scheduled for consideration and a vote by the State Assembly today.  It is imperative that all concerned California residents contact their Assembly member and urge them to vote against AB 485. 

Click here to find your Assembly member. 

Talking Points Against AB 485:

  • AB 485 harms responsible pet breeders and retailers who are regulated under federal and/or state laws, while encouraging the sale of pets that come from unlicensed and unregulated sources that are not subject to federal animal welfare or California consumer protection laws.
  • AB 485 will ban the sale of pets from known, regulated and inspected sources, and restrict pet shops to only sell pets from unregulated and uninspected sources (i.e., shelters, rescues, and other similar organizations).  
  • AB 485 will dramatically reduce average Californians' access and ability to choose a pet with the predictable type, mandated care, and substantiated health background that come with purebred pets from regulated sources.  Individuals who lack the resources or do not have access to private hobby breeders will be the most directly impacted.    
  • Because many communities lack sufficient local breeders to meet the demand for the specific pets desired by local residents, California families seeking a puppy that is a specific breed from a professional breeder subject to USDA or state animal welfare standards will likely have little other alternative than to obtain a pet of unknown background, health history or status if AB 485 becomes law.  If California consumers are limited to acquiring a pet that is an inappropriate fit for their lifestyle, that animal is more likely to cycle back into the shelter system.
  • AB 485 does not require shelters or rescues to supply pet shops with dogs to sell.  A lack of supply will prove economically disastrous for these businesses and the people who are employed by them.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) emphatically supports freedom of choice in selecting a pet. AKC actively promotes efforts to ensure that people are educated, understand the demands of responsible ownership and have access to a pet that is right for them. AKC strongly opposes any measure that restricts choice by compelling people and/or retailers to obtain pets solely from shelter or rescue distributors.  

WHY ALL CALIFORNIANS NEED TO WORRY ABOUT AB 485: 

As recent history has shown, many anti-breeder animal rights extremists continuously advocate for incremental breeding and sales restrictions that they hope will eventually lead to outright bans on all animal breeding and ownership.  They collectively consider all breeders and pet stores as substandard and inherently not interested in practicing or promoting animal welfare.  These politically-aware extremists recognize that most purebred dog fanciers and enthusiasts do not think of themselves as similar to, or aligned with, pet stores or professional breeders.  As a result, they employ a “divide-and-conquer” governmental strategy to further split the political strength of breeder groups.  This is the strategic foundation that AB 485 is built upon.

Over the past few years, a multitude of local jurisdictions have considered proposals to ban the sale of pets at pet stores.  As the proposals move from one jurisdiction to another, the template stays largely the same.  Proponents make inflammatory allegations about abuses by breeders (whom they collectively call “puppy mills”) or unsubstantiated or uneducated claims of animal population issues, and offer a solution that urges the sales or adoption of animals obtained from shelters and rescues.  Animal rights groups count on the idea that the philosophical division between breeder groups will prevent them from uniting against their incremental, yet no less radical, agenda.    

Sponsored by the same group that attempted to institute mandatory spay/neuter in California in 2007, AB 485 seeks to ban the sale of pets from known, regulated and inspected sources (including breeders and handlers subject to federal licensing), and allow pet shops to only sell pets from unregulated and uninspected sources (i.e., shelters, rescues, and other similar organizations) that are not subject to state consumer protection laws or other guarantees.  In essence, retail pet store bans, including AB 485, remove available consumer protections for new pet owners, limit the ability of pet owners to obtain the appropriate pet for their lifestyle, and potentially increase public health risks for the entire community.  Furthermore, AB 485 will dramatically reduce every Californian's access and ability to choose a pet with the predictable type, mandated care, and substantiated health backgrounds that come with purebred pets from regulated sources.

AB 485’s proponents misleadingly claim that the bill will promote the purchasing of purebred dogs from local breeders.  That claim, however, fails to shed light on the many local anti-breeder laws they themselves have for decades successfully been advocating the adoption of in California cities and counties.  Unfortunately, those restrictions on breeders in local communities have made obtaining a specific type of dog bred by a local breeder increasingly difficult.

Predominantly, when governments attempt to limit the legitimate sources from which a person may obtain a pet, it not only interferes with individual freedoms, it also increases the likelihood that a person will obtain a pet that is not a good match for their lifestyle and the likelihood that that animal will end up in a shelter.

It has never been more important than it is now for all dog lovers and those concerned about the future of our breeds to work together to preserve the freedom of individuals to choose from a variety of pets and to find one that is the right match for each individual’s lifestyle.  Such pets can come from a variety of sources including directly from the breeder, from a retailer, or from a shelter or rescue.  The decision to acquire an appropriate pet should be made by consumers themselves, not by an arbitrary government mandate pushed for by extremists who ultimately seek the end of dog breeding and animal ownership. 

For more information, read Why Pet Shop Laws Affect You

For more information on AB 485, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at doglaw@akc.org.