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For Immediate Release: 09/09/09

Assembly Passes Bill to Protect Pets from Unscrupulous Sales Practices

AB 1122 prevents animals from being sold along roadsides, in parking lots and at carnivals

Sacramento, CA — The California Animal Association, a coalition of 11 state and national animal welfare organizations, today lauded the California State Assembly for passing AB 1122, a bill that will prevent animals from being sold along roadsides, in parking lots and at carnivals, where they are often subject to unsanitary conditions and pose human health risks.

Vendors who sell animals at temporary outdoor venues in California do not have to comply with the same health and safety regulations that govern pet stores. As a result, puppies, kittens, birds, rabbits, turtles and other animals are often kept in unsanitary enclosures without proper food and/or water and in extreme temperatures. These animals are often sickly and pose health risks to the people who handle them. Assembly Member Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) introduced AB 1122 to close this loophole.

“People who sell animals in outdoor venues have been operating without regulation for years, putting both animal and human health at risk,” said CAA spokesperson Barbara Schmitz. “The Assembly has acknowledged the need to protect both animals and consumers by passing AB 1122, and we encourage Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign it into law quickly.”

Animals sold at outdoor venues can cause disease outbreaks. For example, exotic reptiles are common carriers of salmonella and pose a significant risk to children, who often handle the animals then place their hands in their mouths. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 93,000 salmonella cases caused by exposure to reptiles are reported each year in the United States.

AB 1122 is designed to protect consumers as well. Many animals sold at temporary outdoor venues are ill and die shortly after purchase. Consumers can incur significant emotional and financial costs in caring for these animals, yet they have no recourse because it is impossible to track the seller. Stella Lee of San Diego purchased a dog in a parking lot in August 2008 after finding him on the Internet and days later discovered he was seriously sick and needed thousands of dollars in veterinary care.

“These unscrupulous people obviously had no interest in Squeakers’ well-being, and now I am struggling to pay for the care he needs to survive,” Lee said.

Many of the animals sold at temporary roadside venues come from puppy mills — mass breeding operations where animals are housed in substandard conditions without proper food, water, socialization and veterinary care — and are marketed through the Internet to unsuspecting customers. Some are bred in Mexico and smuggled across the border. Several jurisdictions in California, including Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Jose, have already enacted ordinances to combat this growing problem.

AB 1122 is co-sponsored by the California Animal Association and the State Humane Association of California. Other supporters include the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, individual veterinarians, House Rabbit Society, Parrots First, East Bay Animal Advocates, Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, a retired U.S. Fish & Wildlife agent, and SPCA and animal control officials.

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Contact:
Barbara Schmitz, Born Free USA, 916-447-3085 x208

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