California Bill to Prohibit Pet Stores from Selling Dogs Born in Puppy Mills

Posted by Paige Cerulli
puppy on cage for sail on ho chi mihn city street in vietnam

California is one step closer to prohibiting pet stores from selling animals from mass breeding operations, potentially altering the pet industry. 

Mass breeding operations may soon face a major roadblock in California, as the state has come one step further to banning pet stores from selling animals other than rescue animals.

A few months ago, the Assembly voted 44-6 to send the bill to the state Senate. The Senate then passed the bill, voting 55-11. The bill has one more step in the Assembly on Friday but is expected to pass. If the bill should become a law, it would prohibit California pet stores from selling animals bred in mass breeding operations, such as puppy mills.

"By prohibiting the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores, California will cut off the supply of inhumanely bred puppies into communities across the state, and prevent consumers from unwittingly supporting this cruel industry," Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA told PEOPLE in a statement.

"We thank the Senate for unanimously passing this important bill and urge the Assembly to act similarly so that Governor Brown may sign it and signal clearly that California will not tolerate industries relying on animal cruelty as a pathway to profit."

Puppy in a cage. Puppy chewing on a metal grate. In the background is seen the other dogs.

California residents could purchase pets directly from breeders, which would allow the buyers to better see the environments that the animals had been raised in. Puppy mills tend to be unsanitary and overcrowded, but when buyers purchase pets from pet stores, they never see the conditions where their pets were actually bred.

"While animals are being bred in the Midwest, often in unsanitary conditions, we've got dogs and cats in animal shelters that need a good home," said Assembly member Patrick O'Donnell, D-Long Beach, the main author of the legislation -- Assembly Bill 485.


Under the bill, AB485, pet shops from San Francisco to Sacramento to Los Angeles to San Diego could only sell dogs, cats, small animals and rabbits which were obtained through an animal shelter or nonprofit rescue groups. They would be able to continue to provide pet services, sell pet supplies, high quality food but only be able to promote pet adoption.

California is already well ahead of the curve when it comes to finding unwanted animals forever homes. More than 30 cities and counties have restricted pet stores' ability to sell non-rescue animals.

Should the bill become state law, it could dramatically transform the pet industry within the state. With shelter animals being the only option aside from directly purchasing from breeders, there would be a financial incentive for people to choose animals in need of homes. This change could help cut down on the number of unwanted animals, promote animal welfare, and would cut into the profitability of puppy mills, kitten mills, and commercial breeding.

UPDATE: Bill AB485 has passed! California pet stores cannot sell any cats, dogs, or rabbits bred at mills.

Tell us what you think of this potential new law and what it means for pet rescue in the comments below!

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California Bill to Prohibit Pet Stores from Selling Dogs Born in Puppy Mills