Bella’s Act Will Crack Down on Puppy Mills Once and For All
With the continued for-profit, retail sale of animals from puppy mills and cat factories in California, California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria and a coalition of animal welfare organizations are saying no more. Assemblymember Gloria introduced Assembly Bill 2152 (AB 2152), known as “Bella’s Act,” to officially end the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in California and crack down on the illicit puppy mill industry once and for all.
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.
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.
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. Since that time, San Diego has witnessed firsthand the lengths bad actors will go to maintain their lucrative and unethical practices.
Other states and localities, including National City, have passed clean bans to address these loopholes. Legislation similar to AB 2152 is progressing in several other states, including New York to finally end the sale of puppy mill animals. Ultimately, Bella’s Act will strengthen current California law to prevent the exploitation of animals bred in deplorable conditions and imported for sale.
Bella’s Act will be heard by an Assembly policy committee in the coming weeks.