Animal advocates urge Governor to protect animal welfare and consumer rights after “David vs. Goliath” battle with industry lobbyists
Sacramento, CA — A bill hotly contested by Petco and the pet industry has passed the Assembly and Senate and will now go to Governor Schwarzenegger for signing. The bill, AB 2862, which would mandate the adoption of care and handling regulations for animals sold in pet stores, is a significant step in the right direction for protecting pets and consumers. The bill is sponsored by the Animal Protection Institute (API) and was introduced in the legislature by Assemblymember Mark Ridley-Thomas (D), District 48, Los Angeles.
“I authored this legislation because the industry’s troubled past clearly signals that the pet store industry needs regulation to ensure proper care of animals,” says Assemblymember Ridley-Thomas. “Other states have taken the lead on this issue and California needs to catch up.”
If signed by the Governor, AB 2862 would direct the California Department of Consumer Affairs to establish basic care standards for all pet stores selling live animals. In its original form AB 2862 set forth specific animal care and sanitation requirements for pet shops without the involvement of the state agency.
Care standards in the original bill were based on successful regulations in other states and on veterinarian recommendations and scientific findings that reveal that simple improvements can make a big difference to the health and welfare of animals commonly sold in pet shops. This information will be made available to assist the Department of Consumer Affairs should AB 2862 be signed into law.
“AB 2862 will remove the incentive for pet stores to cut corners in animal care to advance their bottom line,” says Barbara Schmitz, API’s Government Affairs Coordinator. “It is not too much to expect that the state require pet stores to provide clean bowls and cages, cages that permit the animals to move around comfortably, and veterinary care to sick and injured animals. Yet those are precisely the common sense, humane standards that the pet store industry is fighting against so vociferously.”
Examples of animal and consumer protection issues revealed by API’s recent investigation of California pet stores include, available for sale, sick puppies kept in pens contaminated by manure runoff from other animals; injured animals, including birds with severe head trauma; and animals suffering from obvious illnesses that can be transmitted to humans.
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.
Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute, 916-447-3085 x205