Gloria Bill to End Puppy Mills in California Clears Legislature, Heads to Governor’s Desk

Monday, August 31, 2020

California Could End For-Profit Sale of Dogs, Cats, and Rabbits Under Bill by Assemblymember Gloria

SACRAMENTO, CA – A bill by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) to crack down on the illicit and inhumane puppy mill industry is now on the Governor’s desk for consideration. Assembly Bill 2152 (AB 2152), known as Bella’s Act, would end the retail sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits throughout the State while still allowing retail establishments the flexibility to partner with rescues or shelters for adoption events.

The mass breeding operations of puppy mills are unhealthy and inhumane. We don’t want animals experiencing that cruelty in California,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “Bella’s Act will finally fulfill our state’s promise to end the illicit puppy mill industry and encourage pet retailers to partner with rescues and shelters for adoption events. I urge the Governor to sign this bill and ensure we no longer tolerate or facilitate puppy mill cruelty in this state.”

Bella’s Act will once-and-for all prohibit the retail sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits, while still allowing retail establishments the flexibility to partner with rescues and shelters for adoption events. The bill also prevents pet stores from receiving any compensation from the adoption transaction, or for the use of the store or store resources in connection with adoption events.

We are thrilled with the passage of AB 2152, Bella’s Act, to close loopholes in the law that allowed unscrupulous pet store owners to continue to ship puppy mill puppies into our state for sale,” said San Diego Humane Society President and CEO Dr. Gary Weitzman. “Thanks to Assemblymembers Gloria and O’Donnell, California will finally end the retail sales of dogs, cats and rabbits once and for all. We look forward to receiving Governor Newsom’s signature and to the impact this critical legislation will have on the importation and sale of inhumanely bred animals in our state.”

On January 1, 2019, California enacted a prohibition on the sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits in retail stores unless the animals were acquired from a shelter or rescue group that has a cooperative agreement with a shelter, humane society, or society of the prevention of cruelty to animals. However, pet retailers have utilized a loophole to get around the prohibition by importing for sale.

Bella’s Act will strengthen current law to prevent the exploitation of animals bred in deplorable conditions and remove the profit incentive for bad actors to continue this harmful business practice.

We applaud California lawmakers for strengthening the state’s pet store law and cutting off the puppy mill pipeline once and for all,” said Sabrina Ashjian, California State Director for The Humane Society of the United States. “We urge Governor Newsom to build on his strong animal welfare record and sign Bella’s Act.

According to the U.S. Humane Society, a puppy mill is an inhumane, high-volume breeding facility that churns out animals for-profit. The animals’ needs are often ignored and they are sick and unsocialized. The animals are commonly then sold online or in pet stores. It is estimated that 10,000 puppy mills are still active in the United States.

AB 2152 is named after a corgi named “Bella” who was illegally and inhumanely bred in a puppy mill. Bella was sent to a pet store in San Diego County where she was advertised as a rescue and sold for thousands of dollars – the “adoption fee.” During this experience, Bella was declawed and developed a severe case of bronchitis that caused her owner, Heather, to have to spend thousands of dollars to eventually get her healthy. Though healthy today, Bella still suffers from separation anxiety from her owner.

Best Friends is proud to be a part of the coalition that worked alongside Assemblymember Todd Gloria to pass this critical bill to strengthen existing law and end puppy mill sales in California pet stores once and for all," said Julie Castle, chief executive officer of Best Friends Animal Society. "We commend the California legislature for recognizing the importance of AB 2152 so that dogs like Bella will no longer have to suffer at the hands of this cruel industry."