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Bill to end retail sale of dogs, cats, rabbits in California awaits Newsom's signature

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Posted at 9:29 PM, Aug 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 16:54:15-04

(KGTV) – A bill to end the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in California is heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk for approval.

Assembly Bill 2152, known as "Bella’s Act," would ban the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits, while allowing stores to partner with rescues and shelters for adoption events. The bill stops pet stores from receiving any money from adoption transactions or from using the store or its resources in connection with adoption events.

Assemblymember Todd Gloria, of San Diego, introduced the bill in February 2020. The bill is sponsored by the San Diego Humane Society.

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"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."

While California implemented a ban on the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in retail stores in 2019, unless the animals were obtained from a shelter or rescue group, some retails utilized a loophole in the law by importing animals from outside the state for sale.

Bella's Act was named after a corgi named "Bella" who was illegally bred in a puppy mill, before being sold in a San Diego County pet store where she was advertised as a rescue animal. Bella sold for thousands of dollars. Her owner says the dog was declawed while in the puppy mill and developed severe bronchitis that led to costly medical bills.

Bella has since recovered but still suffers from anxiety.

San Diego Humane Society President and CEO Dr. Gary Weitzman said, “We are thrilled with the passage of AB 2152, Bella’s Act, to close loopholes in the law that allowed unscrupulous pet store owners to continue to ship puppy mill puppies into our state for sale. Thanks to Assemblymembers Gloria and O’Donnell, California will finally end the retail sales of dogs, cats and rabbits once and for all. We look forward to receiving Governor Newsom’s signature and to the impact this critical legislation will have on the importation and sale of inhumanely bred animals in our state.”