PIJAC Urges Industry to Act as California Inches Closer to Statewide Pet Sales Ban
On Tuesday, Sept. 12, the California Senate passed Assembly Bill 485. This statewide pet sale ban is expected to pass the Assembly this week for the second time, and go to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown for veto or signature.
For pet stores in California, breeders nationwide, and the consequences of the first statewide ban on the sales of non-rescue, non-shelter cats, dogs and rabbits at pet stores are clear. Under AB 485, the only breeders who will be able to sell these pets to Californians will be hobby breeders.
Other parts of the industry are not safe from the consequences of this pet sale ban. We already know where this will go; Cambridge, Mass., recently passed a nearly-comprehensive pet sale ban—the only companion animal exception was for fish.
As PIJAC told our members shortly after the Cambridge ban passed in early August, “The passage of this ban in a major U.S. city marks a new milestone for our industry … Activists will surely take this victory as a sign of their influence and attempt similarly expansive bans elsewhere—especially with passage of the nation’s first statewide ban on the sales of cats and dogs pending in the California state Senate.”
We told PIJAC members to “be assured that these bans will directly affect you, even if you’re not a pet store. The proliferation of ‘dog and cat only’ local pet sales bans in the last five years is only continuing, and the Cambridge ban is their successor.”
The fact is that there is no pet industry without healthy, responsibly sourced pets. Forcing prospective pet owners to acquire nearly all of their animals from shelters and rescues is neither sustainable nor responsible. It will have a rapid and negative impact on pet ownership nationwide, which will affect the entire industry. As pet availability decreases, so does the demand for food, collars and leashes, toys, grooming, veterinarian services, etc.
Everybody is directly affected.
Despite the hard work of pet professionals across the companion animal spectrum, animal activists regularly slander our public image. Yes, PIJAC urges the industry to contact Governor Brown to veto AB 485. And if the industry is successful in convincing him to stand with the pet professionals and consumers at risk thanks to this bill, we can give ourselves a brief pat on the back. But pet professionals nationwide must also come together in a far broader fashion—to tell our story and shape our narrative about our commitment to transparency and animal well-being.
Unless we can convince the public and legislators that we are responsible partners in pet care, we will continue to lose or rely on Hail Mary passes like governors’ vetoes. Only through working together can we see our industry thrive.
Laura “Peach” Reid is the CEO of Fish Mart, Inc. and the first female chair of the board of directors for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). Mike Bober is president and CEO of PIJAC.