A bill by Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, to crack down on puppy mills is now on Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk.
Assembly Bill 2152, known as "Bella's Act," would end the retail sales of dogs, cats and rabbits throughout California 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," Gloria said. "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."
The bill also would prevent pet stores from receiving any compensation from adoption transactions, or for the use of the store or store resources in connection with adoption events.
On Jan. 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.
According to Gloria, pet retailers have utilized a loophole to get around the prohibition by importing animals from outside the state for sale.
"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.
According to the 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."
The society estimates there are 10,000 puppy mills still active in the United States.
AB 2152 is named after a corgi named Bella who was illegally 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 the experience, Bella was declawed and developed a severe case of bronchitis that caused her owner to have to spend thousands of dollars to eventually get her healthy.
Gloria represents the 78th District, which includes the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar, Imperial Beach and Solana Beach.