Kudos to Gov. Jerry Brown: Now that California's pet stores will be required to sell dogs, cats, and rabbits from shelters or adoption centers, countless animals will have a chance to experience the love and companionship that they deserve.
The new law, though, should raise a red flag about purchasing our animal companions from a breeder. Licensed or not, there is no such thing as a responsible breeder—every sale exacerbates the homeless-animal overpopulation crisis.
Shelters take in more than 6 million animals every year, and because there aren't enough good homes for all of them, about half must be euthanized. Others are turned away by other shelters and left to survive on the street, where they can be hit by cars; are exposed to weather extremes and disease; and are vulnerable to cruel humans who shoot, stab, and poison them.
When we purchase an animal from a breeder, we not only encourage him or her to pump out more puppies, kittens, and rabbits, we deny a home to one whose life may depend on being adopted. Visiting an open-admission shelter addresses both issues.