California becomes first to ban puppy mill sales

One and a half million animals are euthanized in United States shelters every year. At the same time, puppy mills breed over 2 million puppies each year. However, on Oct. 13, Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, signed into law a bill that proponents are hoping will drastically decrease these numbers.

The title of this bill is AB 485. It was written by the assembly members Patrick O’Donnell and Matt Dababneh.

“This bill would prohibit, on and after Jan. 1, 2019, a pet store operator from selling a live dog, cat, or rabbit in a pet store unless the dog, cat, or rabbit was obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group,” the bill states.

The bill prohibits pet stores from obtaining animals from puppy mills. Puppy mills are commercial breeding facilities primarily located in eastern states that raise puppies for sale, and have frequently been criticized as being inhumane. One of the main reasons this bill was created was to protect animals from the treatment they receive from being bred in puppy mills.  

“Puppy mill operators care more about profit than they do about the humane treatment of dogs and cats,” one of the key animal rights activists who fought to pass this bill, Leslie Davies said. “Puppy mills are production lines. The breeding dogs are rarely socialized, and are only given the bare essentials every day.”

Opponents of the bill say the outlawing of purchasing animals from puppy mills will hurt pet store businesses. Some consumers are also worried that this would stop them from being able to buy a purebred dog. Yet, to the dismay of the animal rights activists, this is not the case.

“Unfortunately this bill will not impact backyard breeders,” Davies said. “Furthermore, this bill will not impact responsible breeders. Consumers can still purchase a purebred dog of their choice from a reputable/responsible breeder.”

Davies further explains the impact of bill AB 485.

“This bill will reduce the demand for puppies bred in these horrific conditions while increasing avenues for the adoption of animals who are in need of necessities to keep them alive,” Davies said.