California Bans Puppy Mills Sales at Pet Stores

California, a state with 36 cities that have already banned mass breeding pet operations, has introduced the nation’s first statewide ban on the sale of puppy mill animals by pet stores.

The decision was announced by Governor Jerry Brown in 2017 to the cheers of animal rights organizations and animal lovers across the state. The law, which goes into effect on January 1, will require any pet store that wants to sell animals (dogs, cats, and rabbits) to work with local animal shelters or rescue groups — or face a $500 fine per sale of any large-scale-breeder-produced animal.

Puppy mills and other mass breeding operations are often filled with cases of severe cruelty and unnecessary animal deaths. While these places pride themselves on churning out purebreds and/or “unique” mixes, people don’t often see the horrific reality behind the scenes. They don’t see the animals living in dark, dirty, small cages. They don’t see the mothers of those animals being torn from their babies and being forced to have children over and over again. They don’t see the sick animals without any proper socialization or veterinary care. Puppy mills are all about profit  — not the welfare of the animals.

This new legislation puts a stop to that. It’s worth noting that the law doesn’t ban the private sale of animals, specifically when they are sold directly from one person to another (so expect Craigslist’s private pet sales and backyard breeder operations to skyrocket). However, this victory cannot be overshadowed by this clause, as a ban on the bigger operations saves countless lives and puts a significant dent in an industry that has run unchecked for far too long.

The best thing we can do to fight this cruelty is to adopt rescue animals either from a shelter or a rescue group. Why buy an animal when there are so many (often for no or very low cost) just waiting for homes? Everyone can be an activist and fight for animals with the simple mantra: Adopt. Don’t shop.

By signing this groundbreaking bill, California has set an important, humane precedent for other states to follow,” Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, said in a statement. “We commend Governor Brown’s signing of this lifesaving legislation to codify statewide what cities across California have already done to help put an end to the cruelty of pet mills.”

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