Photo Credit:
Birds smuggled in from other countries often carry parasites and diseases. Photo Credit:

Elana Pisani, exclusive to Global Animal

This past week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law an important restriction on the sale of animals at flea markets and swap meets. AB 339 was sponsored by Born Free USA and the State Humane Association of California and was authored by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson.

The bill allows for the sale of animals at these venues under strict conditions that the local jurisdictions adopt certain care standards. If they do not comply, the sale of animals will be prohibited all together. These standards are the same regulations that are required of retail pet stores.

The bill was prompted by the appalling conditions that animals are kept in at many flea markets and swap meets. These animals range from cats and dogs to exotic birds and turtles. All of them have been in danger of having their needs neglected as there has previously been no consistent state laws governing their treatment.

“I have personally witnessed the cruelty to which animals in flea markets are subjected when Born Free USA investigated these operations,”  stated Monica Engebretson, on behalf of Born Free USA. “Assemblymember Dickinson’s bill will prevent this suffering.”

These overcrowded bunnies were on sale at a flea market. Photo Credit: Angela McRae
These overcrowded bunnies were on sale at a flea market. Photo Credit: Angela McRae

Additionally, there is concern for the consumer. Animals kept under these conditions are often sickly and sometimes even carry diseases. The new law will keep both animals and people safe and healthy. 

There is also a high cost involved when people are encouraged at flea markets to make impulse purchases. When pet guardians decide they made a mistake or if their pet is too sick because of their previous living conditions, then they often take their unwanted animals to shelters. This overburdens shelters, which is costly to local governments. 

The decision to protect these animals in California is undoubtedly a step in the right direction and we hope that other states in the U.S. will eventually follow suit.

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