PHOENIX - California will soon become the state with the toughest laws when it comes to pet stores selling puppies, cats and rabbits.
Starting Jan. 1, 2019, it’ll be against the law for pet stores to sell those animals from commercial breeders. Instead, they’ll have to come from shelters, rescues and other adoption agencies.
“We think it's terrible,” said Linda Nofer, the director of marketing for Animal Kingdom and Puppies N' Love. “It's going to force people -- consumers -- who want to buy specific breed of puppy … to go to unscrupulous and often unknown sources.
“In the state of Arizona, pet stores are not buying their puppies from puppy mills. Pet stores are now the most heavily regulated place for you to buy a dog,” Nofer said.
So what are Arizona's laws when it comes to pet stores selling dogs and cats?
We've verified that just last year, Gov. Doug Ducey signed SB 1248. It prevents cities from regulating how pets are sold. Before that, Phoenix and Tempe had rules that said pet stores couldn’t sell commercially bred cats and dogs. Now the state regulates pet sales.
That law also says pet stores must buy dogs and cats from hobby breeders -- those with four or fewer breeding adults -- or buy from U.S. Department of Agriculture licensed breeders. Pet stores must also disclose the source of the animals they sell. And if they break these rules, there's a "three strikes and you're out" law.
But for some, Arizona's rules aren't enough. They would like to see California's law here, hoping to decrease the 30,000 or so dogs that end up Maricopa County's public shelters every year.
“It makes it a little more difficult if people have to go a little farther out of their way to find some dog they really need to have,” Jessica Suarez said. “They shouldn't make convenient to have people breeding animals.”
The National Humane Society agrees and in a blog, writing, "By closing the markets for the sale of dogs from puppy mills, the law redirects consumers to shelters and rescues."