March 20, 2010

In Case You Didn't Know/ AB 241, the Anti-Puppy Mill Bill We COULD Have Had

From the website Animal Law Coalition: On Oct. 12, 2009 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 241, the anti-puppy mill bill that would have limited commercial dog and cat breeders to a total of 50 breeding animals.

Virginia, Louisiana, Washington and Oregon all limit the number of some animals used to breed pets for sale. Similar limits are pending in Massachusetts and New York.

It is well known that large volume commercial breeders, usually called puppy, cat or bird mills, place profit before humane care and treatment and simply don't or can't provide the space, exercise, socialization, affection, veterinary care, grooming, nutrition and safe, clean environment to allow these social animals to thrive. It has been demonstrated that profitability depends on inhumane care and volume.

By limiting the breeding, California would have gone a long way to stopping the cruel treatment of animals in large puppy and cat mills. With fewer animals, commercial breeders could have provided better care and treatment.

Also, it was hoped this historic legislation would give law enforcement and animal control the tools they need to stop animal cruelty and avoid the burden large puppy and cat mills place on communities when they must be shut down, leaving large numbers of animals in need of veterinary care, sheltering, and placement. it is the state and local government that is forced to absorb the cost of rescue, care and placement of animals that must be seized from mills because of abhorrent conditions and animal cruelty and neglect. With fewer animals, large scale expensive rescues would have been less likely.

Also, at least one third of animals from mills end up in public shelters, a burden on taxpayers. By limiting the breeding, this bill would have over time reduced animal control costs and the numbers of animals that enter shelters.

In vetoing this bill, Gov. Schwarzenegger said, "I am returning Assembly Bill 241 without my signature. This... measure simply goes too far in an attempt to address the serious problem of puppy mills. An arbitrary cap on the number of animals any entity can possess throughout the state will not end unlawful, inhumane breeding practices. Instead this measure has the potential to criminalize the lawful activities of reputable breeders, pet stores, kennels, and charitable organizations engaged in raising service and assistance dogs. For these reasons, I am unable to sign this bill."

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