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California to become first state to ban retail sales of cats and dogs

A new California law will soon put a leash on pet store sales, becoming the first state to ban retail sales of cats, dogs and rabbits in an effort to crack down on breeding mills.

A bill signed in October, AB 485, goes into effect January 1. It says pet stores can only sell cats, dogs and rabbits that come from local rescue groups, shelters or animal control agencies. 

Pet stores will also have to maintain records for where each of those animals came from, and must include that information on their cages or enclosures. Store operators will face a $500 fine for any violation of the law.

Another California law starting New Year's Day will further advance pet protections by allowing judges in divorce proceedings to consider the best interests of pets and create custody arrangements for them. Current California law regards pets as property. 

Cats and dogs were also rescued by the farm bill signed this month by President Trump, which includes a provision formally banning the slaughter and trade of those animals for human consumption. Before the bill, it was legal in 44 states to turn cats and dogs into food.

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