Today, May 17th, California Assembly Bill 485 will be going before the California State Assembly Committee on Appropriations.
AB 485 seeks to mandate that all dogs, cats and rabbits offered for retail sale be obtained solely from public or private animal shelters located in California and non-profit rescue groups. This Bill will take away all California citizens’ right of choice when obtaining their pets. There is no question that the quality of the pets available will decrease dramatically.
The legislators reviewing this Bill need to be brought up to speed on a few facts that this article will seek to address. Before we begin, it is imperative that it is understood that EVERYTHING revealed in this article is verifiable and was extracted verbatim from California and Federal public records. There is no “fake” news here.
This bill (AB485) would regulate sourcing of animals for retail sales, disallowing retail stores to decide for themselves where to obtain their puppies, rabbits and kittens.
PIJAC, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council advised that this bill would have a devastating effect on the twenty-four (24) puppy retail pet stores currently known to operate in the State of California. These stores obtain many of their animals from commercially licensed kennels outside of the California. These licensed USDA kennels are required by federal law to keep detailed breeding records of pet health and regular veterinary checkups. Additionally, standards for these breeding facilities cover kennel size and condition, sanitation, exercise and proper socialization. These breeding facilities are inspected and graded on a regular basis. Contrary to popular opinion, kennels under USDA supervision produce quality puppies. If they didn’t, they would not be in business. The health and history of these animals is well known.
If this bill were to become law, all those requirements would go away and California citizens would be forced to obtain their pets from unregulated organizations who have no oversight and who deal in pets of unknown backgrounds, with questionable history, health and temperament. This is a very serious matter and spells disaster for the pet loving public, the future of the purebred dogs, cats and rabbits. It also impinges on freedom and right of choice.
A recent study was undertaken to determine just how many rescues and shelters were in operation in Southern California and what, if any oversight or regulations governed them. As far as can be determined, this has never been done before and the results paint an interesting and alarming picture.
Six hundred and eighty-four (684) rescue, shelter and humane operations were identified in the geographical Southern California area alone. One can only imagine how many there are state-wide.
Humane societies and rescues operate as non-profits. In order to become a non-profit organization or charity, one must apply for 501c3 status with the IRS. Once approved, the non-profit receives a tax identification number from the Internal Revenue Service. California requires that all non-profits operating within the State also register as charitable organizations with the Office of the Attorney General. Other than complying with these requirements, there are no other regulations or licensing restrictions that apply. Consequently, these non-profits operate with impunity and are not subject to the same laws and regulations that affect breeders and retail pet stores.
A detailed look at the 684 rescue and shelter operations within the Southern California region has revealed some interesting facts.
- State required charity registration:
Of the 684 organizations reviewed, 41 were city or county run shelters and were not required to register as charities with the State, which brought the number of required registrants down to 643. Of those 643, 217 or 34% were current and had met their registration requirements. 426 or 66% had NOT registered in accordance with lawful requirements and were either delinquent, had their charitable status revoked or were suspended.
- Non-Profit status with the Department of Internal Revenue Service
Of the 684 organizations reviewed, 41 were city or county run shelters and did not qualify as non-profits and were removed, bringing the total once again, to 643. Of the remaining 643 organizations, status and tax identification numbers could NOT be found on 157 or 24%. (If these 157 are not registered charities or 501c3 non-profits, they should be paying state sales tax on the sale of their dogs, cats and rabbits.) They were either delinquent in their filings, had their non-profit status revoked, were too new and had not filed or just did not file their yearly 990s as required by the IRS. Subtracting these non-reporting organizations brought the total down to 486.
We were able to trace the remaining 486 rescue and humane organizations through their federal tax numbers (EIN#s). 296 rescues and humane societies had income in excess of $50.000.00. They were required to file itemized 990 forms with the IRS that detailed income and operating expenses. Many of these
990s were delinquent, having not met the IRS yearly filing requirement. Their combined income totaled $251,807,644.00.
The remaining 190 rescue organizations reportedly had revenue of under $50,000.00. The IRS allows groups that fall in this category to do a post card filing and income amounts are not available publically on the internet. As with the long form 990s, many of these organizations were also delinquent.
Summing up, it needs to be understood that this represents only one geographical area of California and that rescue and trafficking of animals in California state-wide is HUGE and UNREGULATED.
It is incomprehensible why our lawmakers would target a very small percentage of tax paying businesses that taken as a whole, DO NOT contribute to pet overpopulation and all the while ignore the unregulated monster that is growing by leaps and bounds.
When considering this bill, you should also consider the Polanco-Lockyer Pet Breeder Warranty Act, a law that was passed many years ago and applies only to breeders and retail sellers. As this law is currently written, it gives no oversight to rescues, humane societies or shelters.
And finally, where do you think these 684 rescues/shelters/humane societies get their dogs, cats and rabbits? With dogs, many come from out of state and many more come from third world countries. They carry no health history, are lacking in socialization and carry parasites and disease. Brucellosis, a disease that was at one time all but eradicated is on the rise. Screw worm, practically unheard of is also on the rise. A dog flu epidemic of a strain found only in Korea gripped the Midwest portion of the country and spread eastward, causing sickness and death in domestic animals. Cornell University researchers traced the disease directly to dogs imported from Korea. California regularly receives dogs from Taiwan, Korea, Southeast Asia, Turkey, Eastern Block European Countries and Mexico.
Please do a little soul searching and ask yourselves – why is it that legislators are going after the only legitimate and transparent retail stores who that sell healthy and warrantied puppies, kittens and rabbits and what makes you think that if this bill succeeds, that you as breeders and dog fanciers are not going to be next?