Friday, March 31, 2017

DOGS opposes AB 485

Assembly Committee on Business and Professions

Legislative Office Building Room 383

Sacramento CA 95814

Fax 916-319-3306

Dog Owners of the Golden State "DOGS"

PO Box 355

Tracy CA 95378

March 31, 2017

Re: CA AB 485 O'Donnell: Pet Store Operators: Dogs, Cats and Rabbits OPPOSED


Dear Chairman Salas and Committee Members,

DOGS, (Dog Owners of the Golden State), is an AKC State Federation for California, representing thousands of dog owners in our state. We are advocates for animal welfare, for promotion of responsible dog ownership and for protecting the rights of responsible dog owners. We support animal legislation that provides positive benefits to society.

DOGS OPPOSES AB 485 which would mandate that retail outlets in our state only source dogs, cats or rabbits from animal shelters or rescue groups. This measure would severely restrict consumer choice and spur the growth of an unregulated market. A sales ban would only hurt legitimate businesses and responsible, regulated breeders and do nothing to improve animal welfare.


The assumption that restricting sales to shelter and rescue animals would promote welfare is false. Current law protects pet owners and animal health through long-standing regulation of breeders and California's "puppy lemon law." Rescue and shelter pets are often brought in from other states and even other countries, with unknown origins, no welfare checks on conditions, and sometimes the animals are even sick with infectious diseases like parvo, distemper and rabies. Shelter and rescue pets can be expensive for their new owners because they are exempt from existing California consumer health, safety and disclosure requirements and from the consumer protection laws which are required of traditional pet stores and breeders under the Lockyer-Polanco-Farr Pet Protection Act and the Polanco-Lockyer Pet Breeder Warranty Act. Banning the sale of regulated, health-guaranteed dogs from pet stores would eliminate consumer protection and encourage the proliferation of unhealthy pets.

 The USDA regulates the care and conditions of dogs and cats that produce pets for pet stores. The USDA also regulates any breeder who conducts sales that are not face-to-face. Commercial breeders are already heavily regulated by the USDA and retail sale of pets in California is already heavily regulated by the State. One-size-fits all regulations don't make sense when local communities have the opportunity to enact their own rules and regulations. Thirty-three (33) of California's 539 separate jurisdictions have chosen to enact their own rules. On the other hand, 506 jurisdictions have decided that such measures are unnecessary in their communities.

Puppies from regulated breeders are healthier than those from any other source. DVM/VPI Insurance Group, the largest provider of animal health insurance, testified during a hearing in California that "preconceived notions" concerning pet store puppies "could not have been more wrong." After insuring more than 89,000 pet store puppies and kittens and handling health claims from a pool of more than 500,000 insured animals, the insurance company reduced its premiums for pet store puppies and kittens substantially by as much as 22 percent compared to premiums charged for animals from other sources. Why? Pet store puppies receive more veterinary attention during the first 12 weeks of age than any other puppies and, as a result, have fewer claims.

AKC's Position Statement on Pet Choice states: "The American Kennel Club emphatically supports freedom of choice in selecting a pet. AKC actively promotes efforts ensure that people are educated, understand the demands of responsible ownership and have access to a pet that is right for them. AKC strongly opposes any measure that restricts choice by compelling people and/or retailers to obtain obtain pets solely from shelter or rescue distributors."

We urge you to reject this proposal which would cripple the work of ethical, responsible breeders and prohibit the retail sale of responsibly-bred healthy pets. Such ordinances are not only burdensome to breeders and pet store owners, they also are detrimental to the welfare of animals and harmful to the community.

Sincerely yours,

Geneva Coats, R.N.


Dog Owners of the Golden State

CC: Rudy Salas, William P. Brough, Dr. Joaquin Arambula, Catharine Baker, Richard Bloom, David Chiu, Jordan Cunningham, Brian Dahle, Susan Talamantes Eggman, Mike A Gipson, Timothy S. Grayson, Chris R. Holden, Evan Low, Kevin Mullin, Marc Steinorth, Philip Y Ting, Elissa Silva, Gabby Nepomuceno

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