Why Veterinarian Patrick Mahaney Supports CA Proposed Bill AB 485

July 16, 2017

Jane Lynch, Jennifer and Harry Cheyne, and their senior rescue dogs Bernice (L) and Millie (R). Photo credit @JaneLynchOfficial Instagram

For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Dr. Patrick Mahaney. I’ve been in clinical practice as a veterinarian since 1999 and practiced in California since 2006. After initially working for TLC Pet Medical Center (West Hollywood) I founded my own business, California Pet Acupuncture & Wellness (CPAW), Inc., in 2008 to provide concierge-style, holistic veterinary services for my patients on a house call basis.

I’m writing this article in support of CA Proposed Bill AB 485, which according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) “would prohibit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores unless sourced from shelters and rescues, effectively cutting off the puppy mill – pet store supply chain.”

Needless to say, nobody likes to see their pet sick, especially with a companion canine, feline, or other species in the juvenile life stage and seemingly getting a less-than-optimally healthy start on life. As a practicing veterinarian, I’ve seen my fair share of kittens and puppies present for examination, sometimes on an emergency basis, having varying states of mild to life-threatening ailments or known genetic defects related to seemingly unscrupulous breeding practices and questionable animal husbandry shortly after being purchased at pet stores.

In such circumstances it’s always frustrating for the owners, as they have generally paid a considerable amount of money for their new pet and are then faced with a sick animal in need of diagnostics and treatment potentially costing thousands of dollars. Often, these pets come from commercial breeders that aren’t necessarily aiming to create the healthiest possible genetic stock and are more concerned about attaining the highest dollar value for sale. Additionally, such “puppy mill” and “kitten factory” breeding situations may lack proper sanitary conditions, humane housing, and disease-prevention standards.

The good news is that Los Angeles, West Hollywood, and some other Southern California cities have already taken legal measures to ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits from commercial breeders (for a nationwide list, see Jurisdictions with Retail Pet Sale Bans).

There are still storefronts in the greater Los Angeles where you can acquire a new pet, but such locales facilitate the adoption of rescue and shelter animals and not those coming from mill or factory settings. The fee paid by the new owner is an adoption charge that helps to cover the cost of the pet’s medical care and housing.

Fortunately, Los Angeles is home to many dedicated rescue organizations through which my clients can provide forever homes to canines and felines in need. Recently, a favorite client of mine, Emmy Award winner and Hollywood Walk of Fame recipient, Jane Lynch, brought home some new four-legged family members.

“As a lifelong animal lover I’m an advocate of the adopt don’t shop perspective. I recently adopted two senior canines, Bernice and Millie, from A Purposeful Rescue, as I wanted to give dogs having a few years of mileage a second chance at a great life with me and my family.

As there are so many animals in need of of adoption I strongly recommend people who are interested in incorporating a furry companion into their home not purchase a pet that may have come from a puppy or kitten mill from a store. Doing so promotes an industry that does not always have the health and quality of life of the dogs or cats it produces at the top of the priority list. I support CA Proposed Bill AB 485.”

According to the HSUS “AB 485 is right for California because it would:

•Prevent consumers from being duped into supporting cruel puppy mills, and ending up with sick and behaviorally challenged puppy mill puppies.

•Promote shelters and rescues, by encouraging adoption, and lessening the burden on shelters that take in pet store dogs.

•Support responsible breeders who care deeply for their animals and would never sell to pet stores because they demand to know where their puppies end up.

•Codify into state law what has already been enacted in 35 localities in California, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Sacramento.

AB 485 is also a business friendly bill as:

•Stores that sell commercially raised puppies adhere to an outdated and socially unacceptable business model, and are an outlier in their own industry. It makes smart business sense to convert to the humane model, regardless of whether the law requires it.

•The huge majority of pet stores, including the largest and most successful chains, do not sell puppies. Of the top 25 pet retailers in North America, only one sells puppies.1

•About 40 California pet stores currently sell puppies, and the HSUS pet store conversion2 staff is here to assist these stores with their conversion to the humane model.

•391 California pet stores have signed the HSUS Puppy Friendly Pet Store Pledge3, declaring they do not sell commercially raised puppies and will not do so in the future.

Additionally, federal laws don’t provide protection to animals or consumers as:

•Currently, California pet stores can source puppies from both licensed and unlicensed breeders.

•USDA-licensed breeders face minimal regulation.4 The standards of care are shockingly low and enforcement is lacking, resulting in breeders with multiple and egregious violations remaining licensed year after year.

•A USDA license does not disqualify a facility from being a puppy mill. The USDA itself itself states on its website that “a USDA license is not a ‘seal of approval.’”

So, please join me in support of CA Proposed Bill AB 485. To send your letter of support contact Christine Aurre, Office of Assembly Member O’Donnell, at Christine.aurre@asm.ca.gov or 916-319-2070. The HSUS also provides a simple template and guidance in voicing your support of Proposed Bill AB 485 here California: Help stop cruel puppy mills

A big thank you goes out to Jane Lynch for sharing your perspective on this important animal welfare topic.

Please leave your constructive perspective in the below Comments section and communicate with me and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine and life via Instagram (@PatrickMahaney), Twitter (@PatrickMahaney), and Facebook (Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets).

Copyright of this article (2017) is owned by Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, and Certified Veterinary Journalist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr. Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr. Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.

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