California is starting the year with a major step toward helping helpless animals.  Starting from January 1st, 2019, the state has put a ban on pet stores selling puppies, kittens and rabbits coming from commercial breeders. Rather, the stores will only be allowed to take in rescued animals from local shelters.

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This ban is to put a stop to all puppy mills and backyard breeders, all of which are known for forcing animals to live in tightly cramped living spaces. The baby animals are often shipped out while being sick since they receive virtually little to no medical care. Meanwhile, adult animals are continuously bred for more “stock”. [This] takes us one big step closer to the day when puppy mills have nowhere left to sell,” says Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

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This new law’s goal is not only reduce mill breeding of animals but also to make sure that people are prepared to take care of animals before adopting. This policy also includes rabbits, most of whom are sold as “starter pets” at stores. However, unknown to the people, they require as much care as cats and dogs.

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With the law now in effect, animal rights activists hope that other states will soon follow suit. Many cities have now begun advocating their respective states to put a ban on the sale of commercially bred animals, instead of promoting people to adopt rescued ones. Maryland is also set to pass a similar law in 2020 which is set to ban the sale of cats and dogs at pet stores.

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“In 2019, the Humane Society of the United States will be working closely with several state legislatures to enact similar measures,” Block says. “The California law is only the beginning!”

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