Victory! New Law Tightens Loophole That Let California Pet Stores Keep Selling Puppy Mill Dogs

Victory! New Law Tightens Loophole That Let California Pet Stores Keep Selling Puppy Mill Dogs

We celebrated a huge victory for animals when California became the first state in the nation to ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits unless they came from rescues and shelters. Unfortunately, pet stores quickly found a loophole in the law and have been importing mill dogs from out of state. Now, however, thanks to lawmakers and everyone who took action on our alert, that loophole has finally been closed with the passage of Bella’s Act!  

Thousands of animal companions are killed in California shelters every year — costing taxpayers a quarter of a billion dollars annually — while commercial breeders, otherwise known as puppy and kitten mills, continue to mass produce more and more to meet the demand for puppies and kittens.

State lawmakers acted to end this vicious cycle by passing the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, which banned pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits who didn’t come from rescues or shelters as of January 1, 2019.

It was a huge win for animal companions, but retailers almost immediately found a loophole and started importing dogs from puppy mills in other states to sell — sometimes for thousands of dollars.

In an effort to protect these animals and close this loophole, Assemblyman Todd Gloria introduced Bella’s Act (AB 2152).

This legislation upholds the ban on retail sales of dogs, cats and rabbits, while still allowing stores to partner with rescues and shelters for adoption events. However, it caps adoption fees at $500, and removes profit incentives for stores to skirt the law by preventing them from taking any compensation from adoption transactions, or for the use of their stores for holding adoption events.

Supporters hoped that this bill would finally close California’s door to the puppy mill pipeline, and now we’re celebrating another huge success — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Bella’s Act into law in September.

Now, not only will this new law save the lives of countless animals in need of homes and reduce the demand for more from breeders, it will help protect consumers, and relieve taxpayers.

Maryland has since become the second state to pass a ban like this, while both small and large stores across the U.S. that have adopted this type of humane business model have proven it can be successful. We hope more states continue to follow California’s progressive lead and act to protect animal companions with similar legislation.

To learn more about how you can help, check out our Puppy Mills campaign.