California Kicks Puppy Mills Out of Pet Shops


A landmark California bill banning the sale of mill-bred dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores went into effect on January 1st. In addition to the ban, AB 485, the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, authored by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) and sponsored by California-based political animal advocacy group, Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), will require that pet stores offer dogs, cats, and rabbits from shelters and rescue groups. California is the first state in the country to enact a policy of this kind, which will eliminate the trafficking of mill-bred animals into California pet stores and save thousands of animals’ lives from euthanasia in California shelters.

Banning the sale of mill-bred animals means that more abandoned and neglected animals can be adopted instead. These two dogs wait for someone to adopt them in a shelter in Canada. Image credit Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals.

The bill comes on the heels of similar local bans approved in various communities throughout California, including some of the first local ordinances in West Hollywood and the City of Los Angeles, which were also driven by Social Compassion in Legislation.

“When we began the effort to sponsor legislation to codify these local ordinances into state law, many people said it couldn’t be done and the timing was not right,” said Judie Mancuso, Founder and President of Social Compassion in Legislation. “But what we found was not only was the timing right in California, but the timing was also right around the world, as we’ve seen other local jurisdictions and states following suit, including Maryland, as well as the United Kingdom.”

“When we passed the ordinance in the City of Los Angeles, which the California state law is modeled after, we didn’t want to be part of the problem. Now, with the enormous help of Social Compassion in Legislation, we are part of the solution not only in the second largest city in the United States, but in the entire state of California, and around the world,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz.

A breeder dog at a Canadian SPCA veterinary clinic after being seized along with many other dogs from a puppy mill. She has yet to have a hair cut or bath. Photo credit Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals.

“This is an exciting day for pets in California,” Assemblymember O’Donnell said. “I am very grateful for the strong support we received from animal-lovers across the state and from Social Compassion in Legislation, the bill’s sponsor. This is a big win for our four-legged friends, of course, but also for California taxpayers who spend more than $250 million annually to house and euthanize animals in our shelters.”

Banning an outdated business practice of selling pets will positively impact our communities, reduce overcrowding in the shelters, and provide more adoption options through rescue partners. Making AB 485 the law was the right and smart business decision for California so that our pets, businesses and taxpayers can benefit. This law will further aid animal welfare agencies in their mission to save more lives.

Featured image: puppies being seized by Humane Society International from a Canadian puppy mill. Image credit Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals.

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Social Compassion In Legislation (SCIL) has been a vanguard voice sponsoring landmark legislation since our founding in 2007. Whether local, state, or federal our mission is saving and protecting animals. Thanks to SCIL, the animals have a strong voice in the halls of the Capitol. SCIL's vision is to instill greater compassion into society for the welfare of all animals. Click to see author's profile.

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