California becomes first state to ban pet stores from selling non-rescue animals
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California will be the first state to ban pet stores from selling animals from mass breeding operations like puppy mills.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill last week that will require pet stores to sell only dogs, cats and rabbits that have come from shelters or rescue groups.

Elena Bicker, executive director at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, told ABC News that the law is specifically targeting puppy mills.

“The problem is puppy mills, and this law is specifically targeting shutting down and not supporting puppies being manufactured in unsafe, unsociable, and horrific conditions," Bicker said. "California is setting the standard and elevating the status of pets in society by targeting the puppy mills and elevating shelter pets as a place in homes.”

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The American Kennel Club is opposing the move, saying it will increase the likelihood that people purchase pets that are not a good match and end up leaving them in shelters.

More than 200 cities and counties nationwide have similar protections, including 36 cities in California that had bans on puppy mills prior to this new law. The statewide ordinance will go into effect in 2019.