In a new law that took effect January 1st, pet stores in California must supply buyers with instructions on the proper care of animals they sell or else face up to a $250 fine per incident.
The law was opposed by pet groups such as the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and supported by animal rights groups such as the Doris Day Animal League.
Pet store owners in California say they agree with the intention of the law, but are concerned that animal rights activists will push for absurd enforcement that will bog them down in extensive paperwork.
For example, pet store owner Shannon Jimenez told the Pasadena Star-News that her store stocks over 300 species of fish. Coming up with a one-size fits all set of instructions for care of fish quickly becomes impossible (since much depends on what other fish a prospective buyer already has in his or her tank). Pet store owners fear that animal rights activists will try to use the law in situations such as this to push their agenda.
Marshall Meyers of PIJAC said,
I’m sure the intention of the law was good, but it could be used as a harassment tool, if someone wanted to harass a store.
And if the animal rights movement is effective at anything, it is harassing those who disagree with them about animals.
Sate law requires care instructions. Terry Webster, Pasadena Star-News, January 1, 2003.