The new Californian law which makes it obligatory for pet shops to obtain supplies of animals from shelters and rescues (as opposed to puppy and kitten mills) has had an unforeseen consequence, namely that shelters which are unregulated have been thrust into the supply chain to provide regulated pet shops with pets.
Animal shelters which are tax exempt charities are now directly attached to commercial enterprises. And there is no definition for the term ‘animal rescue’ nor standards imposed on these organisations, so reports Phyllis M Daugherty of CityWatch.com. She makes a very interesting and important point.
We know that there is a wide spectrum of animal rescue organisations from near cat hoarding in poor conditions to professional set ups.
“Rescues in California have no state regulation.”
They only have to be registered as a charity, be a non-profit and file a 501(c)3 tax form. So, in effect, California lawmakers have given to anyone who files the correct form the right to provide animals to pet stores while the stores themselves are scrutinised and regulated.
Phyllis makes the point that under this new regime the lawmakers of California should consider regulating animal rescues so that they oversee rescues in the same way they have rules governing other product suppliers in the interests of consumer protection and animal welfare.
As mentioned this is a good point because the door is ajar for unscrupulous people involved in cat and dog rescue to benefit financially from supplying pet stores which can undermine the ethics that should accompany animal rescue otherwise the end result will be little better than the situation that the lawmakers wanted to eradicated.
You might end up with “unscrupulous puppy-mill pet dealers rebranding themselves as ‘rescues'”.
Apparently more than 35 states have some sort of regulation over animal rescue organisations. The argument is that the same should apply to California.
Source: City Watch.