California Poised to Become First State to Ban the Sale of Puppy Mill Dogs in Pet Stores

Animal protection groups urge Governor Brown to sign landmark bill protecting pets and consumers
September 14, 2017

CALIFORNIA – Local and national animal protection organizations today commended California lawmakers for passing legislation that will prevent the sale of commercially raised dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores across the state of California. The law also encourages partnerships that promote the adoption of homeless pets.

Authored by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach), Assembly Bill 485 protects animals and consumers, and sets an important precedent for the rest of nation. To date, 36 jurisdictions in California – including the cities of Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco – have enacted similar ordinances, and the passage of AB 485 moves California one step closer to enacting the first statewide prohibition on pet store sales of dogs from puppy mills.

“With this important step, California can build on its humane reputation by prohibiting the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. “We urge Governor Brown to sign this animal protection bill on behalf of all the people and pets in his state, and make clear that industries supporting animal cruelty will not be tolerated.”

“By passing this groundbreaking bill, California is setting an important, humane precedent for other states to follow,” said Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society. “We urge Governor Brown to sign this lifesaving legislation to codify statewide what cities across California have already done to help put an end to the cruelty of pet mills.”

“We applaud California lawmakers for rejecting puppy mill cruelty by voting to end the sale of commercially raised dogs in pet stores,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “Governor Brown has an extraordinary record on animal welfare, and he can build on it by supporting this important, life-saving policy.”

“California taxpayers spend over a quarter of a billion dollars every year to house homeless animals,” said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society. “While AB 485 would increase the visibility of animals from rescue groups and shelters, the main value of the bill -- it eliminates a main source of sales for inhumane commercial breeders. It’s time we stop the tragedy of puppy mills. AB 485 will help to ease the overcrowding of homeless animals in California shelters, relieve county budgets, and put a spotlight on the abusive puppy mill industry. Californians can lead the country in the protection of animals and help end the cruelty of commercial puppy mills once and for all.”

"Right here in California, each year we have thousands of animals who are in need of new homes," said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, President of the San Francisco SPCA." By signing this important legislation, Governor Brown can help stop pet mill cruelty, while giving rescued animals the second chance they deserve."

California joins more than 230 cities, towns and counties across the U.S. that have passed pet store ordinances to take a stand against allowing cruelly-bred animals to be sold in their communities. Despite enticing claims that they only source from licensed, humane or small-scale breeders, pet stores across the country are invariably supplying unsuspecting consumers with animals from puppy and kitten “mills.” These “mill” facilities are designed to maximize profits at the expense of the animals in their possession. Those animals are generally kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. Animals bred in these conditions may suffer severe health problems, including contagious and deadly diseases and congenital defects, as well as behavioral problems. AB 485 will help break the supply chain so that “mill” operations are unable to profit from their abusive practices.

AB 485 now heads to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, who will have 30 days to sign the bill after the legislative session ends on September 15.

This groundbreaking legislation has the enthusiastic support of a coalition of local and national animal welfare groups including the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, San Diego Humane Society and San Francisco SPCA.