Victory! Another Major City Bans Pet Store Sales of Puppy Mill Dogs

Animal advocates are celebrating another big win for companion animals: Sacramento, Calif., has officially banned pet store sales of dogs and cats being sourced from commercial breeders.

The City Council voted this week to pass an ordinance that will now require pet stores to work with shelters and rescues if they want to offer dogs, cats and rabbits to customers.

The ordinance points out that most dogs and cats being sold in pet stores are coming from commercial breeders that have otherwise become known as puppy and kitten mills, where animals are often left without proper shelter, access to food and water, veterinary care and socialization. Not only are these conditions inherently cruel, but they’re causing even more problems down the line for both animals, and for customers who are buying sick pets, many of whom are winding up in the shelter system.

It’s hoped that this ordinance will help address the problem by encouraging adoptions, reducing the number of animals in need of homes, and reducing the number of animals who are turned in to pet stores by cutting off an outlet for commercial and backyard breeders offering animals to pet stores.

While many continue to defend pet store sales of dogs and cats, claiming  that they only come from breeders who are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the standards that have to be met for licensing are the bare minimum and are definitely not in line with the level of humane care that breeders should be providing.

Dogs can be kept in cages only a few inches longer than their bodies for their entire lives, cages can be stacked with wire floors and dogs can be bred as often as they can produce to maximize profits. Sadly, numerous investigations, inspections and busts have continued to expose the problems inherent in these types of operations. The recent release of The Humane Society of the United States’ Horrible Hundred list of some of the worst puppy mills in the U.S. has again highlighted how big the problem is across the nation.

Thankfully growing awareness about the issue is bringing positive changes. Sacramento now joins more than 30 cities in the state, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, that have adopted measures like this, and there’s even more hope that a ban on retail sales of cats and dogs coming from commercial breeders could be made statewide.

In April, Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell introduced The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act (AB 485), which will ban pet stores throughout the state from selling dogs, cats or rabbits, unless they were obtained from a shelter or rescue group.

Supporters hope that closing such a huge market for animals coming from mills will help save lives, reduce the demand for more breeders, protect consumers, and relieve taxpayers who are spending a quarter of a billion dollars annually to house and kill animals in shelters in the state.


You can help by signing and sharing the petition asking lawmakers in California to take a stand for companion animals by passing the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Telica R
Telica R3 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Melania P
Melania P6 months ago

Very cool indeed; I hope other cities and states follow this.

Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx9 months ago

Cat and puppy mills are actually the worst way to breed these pets. I do not agree that breeders who have been working for 10, 15 years or more in a decent way, should now be punished as people would be obliged to adopt rescued animals. These honest breeders don't do their job for a big banking account. They do it because they love a certain breed of cats or dogs. I already said it before : these people have a maximum of 2 or 3 difference breeds. And if you want a puppy, you need to wait sometimes for a year or 18 months before you can buy one, because they limit their dogs to have 2 litters a year, and not more. Must these people be punished now ?? NO !! These are honest animal lovers. What can be done : Everyone who adopts a cat or a dog should receive a little present, like a small toy or cushion etc.. Their names could be registered in specialized magazines, so that family and neighbours can see you adopt poor animals instead of buying kittens and puppies from mills. Something similar could be done for each honest breeder. On the other hand each and everyone who buys a kitten or a puppy from a breeding mill should have to deposit an amount of at least Usdoll. 500 to be distributed amongst all shelters and sanctuaries. And it is not very difficult to retrace these mills. Traders who announce that they have more than 50 or 70 or 100 different breeds are MILLS. They appear in local newspapers, on social media, etc.. And each individ

william Miller
william Miller9 months ago


Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga9 months ago


Peggy B
Peggy B9 months ago


natasha s
Past Member 9 months ago

Great. Still it must be a nationwide initiative. A few cities here+there--there's so few too just isn't good enough. Pet stores should be closed down if they refuse to sell shelter animals. It should be the law.

Cath B
Cath B9 months ago

There is no need for Pet Stores. There needs to be less animals bred. Then maybe people would value them more.
When I was a child we had several strays stop and stay at our place. That was how we had dogs. They stayed by choice and were fed and loved. ONly one left after a few years. I hope Tippy found a good new home. The cats came the same way.

Ruth S
Ruth S9 months ago

Yeah! Thanks.