Ending the Horrors of Puppy Mills, One Law at a Time

For many years, irresponsible breeders seeking nothing but profits put the lives of many puppies, kittens, and bunnies into despair without care for their welfare. Puppy mills open by the thousands around the world contributing to overbreeding, overcrowding, and excessive amounts of euthanizing. California, however, made steps forward to dispel the powers of puppy mills and help promote animal welfare.

A law signed in October 2017 made it mandatory for pet shops to work with rescue operations and/or animal shelters to sell dogs, cats, and rabbits. It was a big step forward to removing puppy mills. Many cities across California, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, already had a city-wide law which assisted in removing puppy-mills, but with this enactment, it became state-wide with a more profound effect of the potential to influence the entire nation to update their laws.

In the more recent years, and especially in 2017 and 2018, many cities across the United States and Canada participated in the attempt to banning sub-standard breeding operations by enacting their own Pet Sale Ban laws. Some of the states in the US, just to name a few, which had their cities enact similar legislation include that of Florida, Utah, Tennessee, Georgia, and Wyoming. In fact, over 200 cities across the US and Canada had enacted similar legislation from 2006 to 2018. City by city, the US is slowly improving the living conditions of pets for sale and reducing counts of stray euthanasia. The problem, however, is far from resolved.

There are several problems associated with puppy mills. Firstly, it produces over-breeding which in turn creates overcrowding. Overbreeding not only creates discomfort for the animals while held by the puppy mill operator, but it increases the number of strays roaming the streets which can be a great danger to the public. Many animals are euthanized every year due to the excessive amounts of stray animals swept off the streets. In fact, the Humane Society estimated that irresponsible breeding leads to approximately 1.5 million animals being euthanized across the USA each year.

Secondly, puppy mills do not prioritize animal welfare but merely on profits. This naturally leads to tremendous discomfort for our pets and strays. Many are kept in uncomfortable and dreadful conditions. They are provided just the minimum to survive. The new law enacted in California was, in fact, influenced from a nearly decade-long campaign named Lucy’s law, which was created to fight to evils of puppy mills.

Lucy was a King Charles Spaniel who was rescued from a UK puppy mill in 2013. Lucy, while kept in terrible living conditions (locked in a cage for most of her life), was forced to have litter after litter. The puppies were even removed too early due to the “urgency to sell them before they stop being cute”. It was also noted that it was likely that Lucy was involved with interbreeding. Nothing better can be expected when the operators of puppy mills care not for the welfare of animals but only on the profits they produce.

This new California-wide law, along with the many enacted across the cities in the US and Canada have the potential to influence other states in the US to enforce similar laws to reduce puppy mills and rid of unnecessary and excessive amounts of euthanasia. With the new laws in place, it forces anyone purchasing a pet that is under the age of six months to deal with a rescue centre or animal shelter directly. This in turn forces pet shops to work with breeders and animal rescues, shelters, and re-homing organizations. Purchasers will also now know where their new fur baby is coming from and in what conditions they were bred and raised in.

If laws like this are to be enacted across the US, there is the potential that the existence of puppy mills can be reduced or even eradicated nation-wide. This begins with the help of the public. By sharing this article, actively promoting anti-puppy mill campaigns, and boycotting puppy mills, together, we will be able to remove sub-standard breeding facilities from the face of our planet and provide all animals with the comfort they deserve.


[1] Curley, Julia. “California Puppy Mill Ban Will Require Pet Stores to Sell Rescue Animals.” TODAY.com, Msnbc.com Contributor, 14 Oct. 2017, www.today.com/pets/california-puppy-mill-ban-will-require-pet-stores-sell-rescue-t117511.


[2] Vittozzi, Katerina. “Law on Buying Pets to Change to End Horror of Puppy Farming.” Sky News, 23 Aug. 2018, www.news.sky.com/story/puppy-farms-and-smugglers-targeted-in-govt-crackdown-11478862.


[3] “Jurisdictions with Retail Pet Sale Bans.” Best Friends Animal Society, 15 Aug. 2018, bestfriends.org/resources/puppy-mills/jurisdictions-retail-pet-sale-bans.