On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that would end Puppy Mills in the State of California.
AB 2152, known as Bella’s Act, was introduced by Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) 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.
The bill passed out of the Assembly in a 72-1 vote and out of the State Senate in a 30-0 vote.
Governor Newsom signed the bill ahead of National Puppy Mill Awareness Day.
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.
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.