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Each year, shelters in San Francisco take in about 5,000 dogs and cats.
Sammy Dallal/AP Images for The Humane Society of the United States
Jim McMahon
A shelter kitten waits to be adopted.
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
To the Rescue!
San Francisco passes a law to help shelter animals find homes.

A law passed last month could give shelter pets in San Francisco, California, something to wag their tails about. The city now requires pet stores to sell dogs and cats from shelters and rescue groups only.


San Francisco joins more than 100 cities and counties in the U.S. that have passed similar laws, which are meant to help more rescued pets find homes. Each year, shelters across the U.S. take in more than 7 million dogs and cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). About 2.6 million of those animals don’t get adopted and are put to sleep.

“There are so many animals that are available for adoption in our animal shelters that need loving homes,” says Katy Tang, the lawmaker who sponsored (introduced and supported a proposal, especially for a new law) San Francisco’s new law.


Meanwhile, most dogs and cats seen in pet-shop windows come from breeders who sell them to the stores. Many breeders take good care of their animals. But some breeders run what are known as puppy and kitten mills, where they raise hundreds of animals at a time in cramped, dirty spaces. The animals often go without enough food or water, or proper medical treatment.

Tang says San Francisco’s new law is meant to send a message to any breeders who treat animals cruelly.

“You’re not welcome here if you are engaged in the practice of churning out animals for profit,” she says.

This article appears in the March 27, 2017, issue of Scholastic News Edition 5/6.