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Puppy Mill Ban Passes The California Assembly

A dog is shown at a puppy mill in this undated photo.

Credit: Humane Society of America

Above: A dog is shown at a puppy mill in this undated photo.

California may become the first state in the nation to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits from pet stores that obtain their animals from out-of-state commercial "puppy mills."

California may become the first state in the nation to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits from pet stores that obtain their animals from out-of-state commercial "puppy mills."

The California Assembly has approved a bill that would only allow pet stores to sell rescued dogs, cats and rabbits - or animals from shelters. If the bill makes it past the governor’s desk, California would be the first state in the nation to pass such a bill.

AB 485 passed the Assembly Tuesday afternoon with 55 votes in favor, 11 opposed.

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez, R-San Diego, was one of the only Republicans to speak in favor of it, saying his time on Oceanside City Council gave him an insight into how many animals had to be put down at the local animal shelters.

"It made a big impact on me," he said, "how many puppies and cats we destroy because there’s not homes for them to go."

The idea behind this law is that thousands of animals in shelters are looking for a home, while pets stores sell animals that may have been bred in poorly regulated, out-of-state "puppy mills."

Photo credit: Humane Society of America

Dogs in a puppy mill are shown in this undated photo.

State Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell, D-Long Beach, sponsored the bill and estimates the state spends $250 million to house and euthanize stray animals. Meanwhile, advocates for this bill say pet stores often ship expensive animals in from out-of-state puppy mills that are not adequately regulated. They say many animals are raised in abusive situations designed to generate maximum profits, at the expense of the animals’ well-being.

Pet store owner, David Salinas, has fought the legislation vigorously. He said commercial kennels are better regulated than the shelters, and banning his stores unfairly limits consumer choice.

But Salinas was forced out of the city of San Diego in 2013 by a municipal code amendment and out of Oceanside in 2015. Escondido is now the only city in North County that permits his store to operate.

The state law still needs to make it through the California Senate before it reaches the Governor’s desk.

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