(PET ADOPTION/ANIMAL NEWS) In a landmark victory for our four-legged friends, California will become the first state to require pet stores to exclusively sell rescue animals.

Under the new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday, commercially bred dogs, cats, and rabbits will be banned from pet stores, encouraging retailers to facilitate adoptions of animals from local shelters and non-profit rescue organizations.

The bill’s goal is to ultimately increase pet adoptions while reducing the number of pets sold from mass breeding operations,  also known as puppy mills or kitten factories.

Assembly Bill (A.B.) 485, or the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, will go into effect on January 1, 2019, and stores can be fined $500 for each animal for sale that is not a rescue.

Read on to learn more about how this lifesaving piece of legislation will prevent the needless deaths of countless animals throughout California, and hopefully inspire other states to follow suit. — Global Animal

California is now the first state to ban pet stores from selling commercially bred cats, dogs, and rabbits. Photo Credit: Erik Verduzco, A

Mercury News / Los Angeles Daily News

California has become the first state to require all stores that sell dogs, cats and rabbits to offer adoptable pets from shelters and nonprofit rescue groups instead of through breeders or puppy mills.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 485 on Friday. The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act was authored by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach.

O’Donnell, whose family has two rescue dogs, has said the issue “is very personal” to him.

“This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course,” O’Donnell said in a statement Friday. “But also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters. I am very grateful for the strong support we received from animal-lovers across the state and from Social Compassion in Legislation, the bill’s sponsor.”

Pet industry leaders decried the new law.

“Assembly Bill 485 reverses California’s tradition of leading the nation in pet and consumer protections,” said Mike Bober, president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. “It also strips consumers of many pet store protections, risks hundreds of jobs, and reduces pet choice.”

Sheila Goffe, American Kennel Club vice president of government relations, said the law “fails to distinguish between professional breeders and pet profiteers.”

The law does not prevent residents from buying a pet directly from a breeder.

Daphna Nachminovitch, a senior vice president for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told the New York Times AB 485 should bring down the number of unwanted pets at shelters.

“There is no doubt that this will help cut down on the number of animals who go into animal shelters,” she told the newspaper in September. “Nothing in this bill stops people from purchasing an animal from a private breeder.”

An estimated 35 cities across California have enacted similar policies at the local level, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but the passage of AB 485 marks the first time a state has adopted such protections.

“We are overjoyed that Governor Brown signed this historic piece of legislation into law,” said Judie Mancuso, president and founder of Social Compassion in Legislation.

The requirements in the bill take effect Jan. 1, 2019. Violators face $500 in penalties. You can read the bill’s language here.

More Mercury News: http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/14/gov-brown-signs-pet-rescue-act-mandating-shelter-dogs-cats-be-sold-at-pets-shops-in-california/