Posts tagged with "cats"

Under AB485, California pet stores are constrained to selling rescue animals

January 3, 2019

Retail pet stores in the Golden State no longer are selling pedigreed poodles or Persian cats on their premises. Under a law effective January 1, known as AB 485, they have been constrained to marketing only dogs, cats, and rabbits obtained from animals shelters or rescue organizations—making California the first state in the union to ban the sale of animals raised in so-called “puppy mills” and other “high-volume” animal breeding facilities.

According to a report by The Cut, the new legislation does not affect sales from private breeders—or from person to person.

Specifically, retail pet stores must stock their dogs, cats, and rabbits from a “public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter,” or a rescue group that is “in a cooperative agreement with at least one private or public shelter.” Any store found to be in violation of the law will be fined $500.

“It takes the emphasis off the profit of animals and puts the emphasis back on caring for and getting these cats and dogs a good home,” Californian Mitch Kentdotson told NBC4 Los Angeles when he and his wife visited the San Diego Humane Society to adopt a kitten last week.

The bill is meant to address the crowded inhumane, unhealthy conditions under which pedigreed animals often have been raised.

So who could object? The new law has its critics, including the American Kennel Club which recently released a statement noting that, “anti-breeder animal rights extremists continuously advocate for incremental breeding and sales restrictions that they hope will eventually lead to outright bans on all animal breeding and ownership.”

The club further noted, “In essence, retail pet store bans … remove available consumer protections for new pet owners, limit the ability of pet owners to obtain the appropriate pet for their lifestyle, and potentially increase public health risks (which are not limited to geopolitical state boundaries).”

Patrick O’Donnell (D-70th District), the California Assembly member who introduced the bill, called its passage a “big win” for “four-legged friends,” and noted that it would save California taxpayers millions of dollars on sheltering animals.

As the BBC notes, the ASPCA estimated that 6.5 million pets enter shelters every year, 1.5 million of which are put down.

While the Humane Society has not yet been contacted by any stores wishing to obtain pets, a spokesperson told The Cut that the organization isn’t yet sure if it would partner with pet stores, saying, “We’re not prepared to do that ourselves, because we have a fairly robust adoption program.”

Research contact: @mmaggeler

Southwest Airlines ‘reins in’ emotional support animals

August 16, 2018

When Southwest Airlines first launched, the carrier created a loosey-goosey image of a fun flyer on which the attendants even sang. Things tightened up considerably on August 14, when the airline announced more stringent rules for bringing “emotional support animals (ESAs)” aboard, effective September 17.

Southwest is limiting passengers to one emotional support animal per passenger—and peacocks, snakes, pigs, turtles, and other unconventional creatures are no longer allowed. Indeed, the carrier now says, the only emotional support animals that will be permitted on flights are dogs, cats, and miniature horses—and the animals must be kept on a leash or in a carrier at all times.

“We welcome emotional support and trained service animals that provide needed assistance to our customers,” said Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality Steve Goldberg. “However, we want to make sure our guidelines are clear and easy to understand while providing customers and employees a comfortable and safe experience.”

To create these policy changes, Southwest says it has reviewed the recent enforcement guidance issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT), evaluated feedback from passengers and employees, and spoken with “numerous advocacy groups” that represent customers with disabilities who travel with service animals.

Southwest also will introduce an enhancement that recognizes fully trained psychiatric support animals (PSAs) as trained service animals.—saying, “Southwest informally accepted PSAs as trained service animals in the past and the airline is pleased to formalize the acceptance of this type of service animal based upon customer feedback.”

PSAs are individually trained to perform a task or work for a person with a mental health-related disability. A credible verbal assurance will be sufficient to travel with a PSA.

All of this comes with a disclaimer: “For the safety of both Southwest’s customers and employees, all emotional support and service animals must be trained to behave in a public setting and must be under the control of the handler at all times. An animal that engages in disruptive behavior may be denied boarding.”

Southwest joins a number of other airlines that have tightened restrictions on emotional support animals. The spotlight fell on travelers with emotional support animals in January, when United Airlines refused to allow a woman to board a flight with an emotional support peacock.

Also on August 14, the Royal Caribbean cruise line reportedly said it will ban all emotional support animals. The cruise line said emotional support animals are not covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to CBS Miami. There is, however, an exception. ESAs noted on reservations prior to July 30 are protected and will be allowed to sail.

Other carriers, such as American Airlines, also have changed their rules—noting that between 2016 and 2017, the number of ESAs flying in their cabins increased by more than 40%. The animals specifically excluded by American include the following: goats, hedgehogs, ferrets, spiders; and non-household birds, such as chickens and hawks. Unclean animals, or animals with an odor, are banned, too.

Research contact: @SouthwestAir