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For Immediate Release: 04/13/06

Retail pet industry fights bill intended to benefit pets and consumers

New legislation results from undercover investigation exposing substandard animal care in California pet stores

Sacramento, CA — A recent investigation by the Animal Protection Institute (API) into the treatment of animals at California pet stores has resulted in a new bill to protect animals for sale in such stores. If passed, AB 2862 would strengthen existing law to require pet stores that sell live animals to meet certain basic animal care standards. The retail pet industry, including Petco, has hired lobbyists to fight passage of the bill.

AB 2862 was introduced by Assemblymember Mark Ridley-Thomas (D), District 48, Los Angeles. The bill will be voted on Monday, April 17, at 9:00am, by the Assembly Business & Professions Committee.

“I introduced AB 2862 to strengthen existing law and close several loopholes and weaknesses in the law in the interests of consumer protection and animal welfare,” states Assemblymember Ridley-Thomas. “This much-needed legislation strikes a moderate balance between the needs of pet store consumers, the animals housed and sold at pet stores, and the pet store industry.”

AB 2862 would establish basic care standards for all pet stores selling live animals. Stores would be required to provide veterinary care to ill or injured animals, follow specific housing requirements to prevent overcrowding and unsafe conditions, and adhere to effective sanitation procedures to avert various risks to public health as well as ensure basic comfort of animals.

“Consumers need guidelines in place at the state level to protect them and to protect animals; it is crucial that they contact their legislators to voice their support this bill,” says Nicole Paquette, API’s Director of Legal and Government Affairs. “The pet store industry claims these guidelines are already in place. If that were true, the retail pet industry would support this bill. In fact, they have hired lobbyists to fight it.”

Examples of animal and consumer protection issues revealed by API’s recent investigation of California pet stores include sick puppies kept in pens contaminated by manure runoff from other animals; injured animals, including birds with severe head trauma and missing limbs; and animals suffering from obvious illnesses that can be transmitted to humans, available for sale.

AB 2862 is endorsed by the California Animal Control Directors Association, California Animal Association, Sacramento SPCA, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Humane Society of the United States, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Avian Welfare Coalition, and others.

API is a national nonprofit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation and public education. For more information, visit www.api4animals.org.

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Contact:
Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute, 916-267-7266
Vincent Harris, Office of Assemblymember Mark Ridley-Thomas, 916-319-2048

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