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California Passes New Legislation to Advance Animal Welfare

AB 485

By Brett Yates, Acting Executive Director 

Today I’m writing about two exciting new pieces of legislation here in California that will advance animal welfare across our home state. The first law is AB 485, the very first statewide bill that requires pet shops to source their animals from shelters and rescues. Of course, advocating for shelter animals is core to our mission. Now we’re thrilled to see it implemented throughout California.

We salute the efforts of the bill’s sponsors and supporters. In fact, at our recent annual Gala, Michelson Found Animals honored AB 485 coauthor, CA Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, with our Leader in Animal Welfare award. We also recognized Judie Mancuso, Founder of Social Compassion in Legislation, who worked tirelessly in support of this legislation.

The second bit of great legislative news is SB 673, which addresses an administrative issue in the existing “Pet Lover’s” license plate program. Since implementation in 2013, the sale of  these license plates was intended to generate funds for no- or low-cost spay and neuter services, and the program raised a significant sum of money. Unfortunately, these funds were not distributed as intended due to administrative challenges. SB 673 fixes (pun intended) this problem and ensures profits are fully distributed to help more animals.

Michelson Found Animals Foundation, and our founders Dr. Gary and Alya Michelson specifically, have a long history with this program – as does Judie Mancuso. All were founders and sponsors of the California Spay and Neuter License Plate Fund and worked with the California Veterinary Medical Board to establish the program. Michelson Found Animals also served as the administrative office for the license plate program back in 2013, housing and fulfilling plate pre-orders.

I think that Dr. Michelson best summed up the benefits of SB 673 recently when he said, “The Pet Lover’s License Plate serves as an example of real innovation. At no cost to taxpayers, this program will save local governments thousands of dollars annually, while also saving the lives of countless dogs and cats.”

With these important advances, I see a bright future for animals in California and beyond. We celebrate California for being at the forefront of animal welfare legislation and hope that other states follow our lead. I also hope you’ll spread the word about adopting shelter pets and while you’re at it, get your own Pet Lover’s license plate through the Department of Motor Vehicles. Lastly, give your dogs and cats a celebratory hug for me!