Shop Owners Race to Meet Law on Pet-Care Guides
Michael Del Munro, Pasadena Star News, 12/31/2002
Pek Choo opened his reptile store in La Habra 19 years ago, he made sure
all his employees were properly trained and would be able to tell customers
how to take care of the animals he sells, which range from garden snakes
to large lizards.
Beginning today, however, a new state law will require Choo and other pet store owners to provide written care guides to new pet owners. If store owners fail to provide the written instructions, they could be subject to fines of $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail for a second violation.
The written information should provide tips for pet housing, necessary equipment, cleaning, environment and food, according to the new law.
Choo's La Habra Pets and other local stores barely became aware of the new law, which was signed by Gov. Gray Davis in September, on Monday and were rushing to meet the new requirement. The law was supported by the Doris Day Animal League and was carried by state Sen. Edward Vincent, D- Inglewood.
Choo said his employees always have observed the spirit of the new law by providing customers with verbal instructions on the care of their pets.
He worries that the law will have the reverse effect. Care for the animals he sells will deteriorate because buyers won't spend the time reading an owner's guide, Choo fears. But he will comply because, "it's a law, so there is nothing we can do.'
Kay Michelson, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control, said she hopes pet store owners and employees will continue to give directions verbally as well as in written form.
Larger chain stores like PetCo already hand out pet-care guides.
"We do receive animals that people don't know how to take care of, so we hope this helps,' said Michelson.
Officials said pet store owners can download copies of care guides via the Web site: www.petstorecaresheets.com. The site was created specifically for this law.
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