CA Gov. Schwarzenegger Vetoes Anti-Puppy Mill Bill

puppy millUpdate Oct. 12, 2009: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed AB 241, the anti-puppy mill bill that would have limited commercial dog and cat breeders to a total of 50 breeding animals.

Virginia, Louisiana, Washington and Oregon all limit the number of some animals used to breed pets for sale. Similar limits are pending in Massachusetts and New York.

It is well known that large volume commercial breeders, usually called puppy, cat or bird mills, place profit before humane care and treatment and simply don’t or can’t provide the space, exercise, socialization, affection, veterinary care, grooming, nutrition and safe, clean environment to allow these social animals to thrive. It has been demonstrated that profitability depends on inhumane care and volume.

By limiting the breeding, California would have gone a long way to stopping the cruel treatment of animals in large puppy and cat mills. With fewer animals, commercial breeders could have provided better care and treatment.

Also, it was hoped this historic legislation would give law enforcement and animal control the tools they need to stop animal cruelty and avoid the burden large puppy and cat mills place on communities when they must be shut down, leaving large numbers of animals in need of veterinary care, sheltering, and placement.  it is the state and local government that is forced to absorb the cost of rescue, care and placement of animals that must be seized from mills because of abhorrent conditions and animal cruelty and neglect. With fewer animals, large scale expensive rescues would have been less likely.  

Also, at least one third of animals from mills end up in public shelters, a burden on taxpayers. By limiting the breeding, this bill would have over time reduced animal control costs and the numbers of animals that enter shelters. 

In vetoing this bill, Gov. Schwarzenegger said, "I am returning Assembly Bill 241 without my signature. This… measure simply goes too far in an attempt to address the serious problem of puppy mills. An arbitrary cap on the number of animals any entity can possess throughout the state will not end unlawful, inhumane breeding practices. Instead this measure has the potential to criminalize the lawful activities of reputable breeders, pet stores, kennels, and charitable organizations engaged in raising service and assistance dogs. For these reasons, I am unable to sign this bill." 

Language of the bill  

Under the bill, "[n]o person or business entity… shall own, possess, control, or otherwise have charge or custody of more than a combined total of 50 adult unsterilized dogs and cats, in the state, at any time used for the purpose of breeding or raising dogs or cats for sale as pets."

"Any person or business entity… that must reduce the number of adult unsterilized dogs or cats in order to comply with this section shall spay or neuter the excess animals or sell, transfer, or relinquish the excess animals within 30 days….If necessary, any euthanasia procedures shall be performed by a California licensed veterinarian".

Public shelters, humane societies, rescues, and veterinarian and research facilities would be exempt. 

Counties and cities could impose more restrictions.

puppy millsA violation would be a misdemeanor. Peace, Humane and animal control officers would have authority to seize animals found in the custody of persons or businesses in violation.

For a look at the bill’s progress as it moved thru the legislature, read the reports below.

Update Sept. 12: The House has concurred in the Senate amendments. This bill, AB 241, has now passed the state legislature.

Update Sept. 4: The California Senate has passed AB 241 by a vote of 23-8. The bill has already been approved by the House of Representatives but now goes back there for approval of minor Senate amendments.  

Update July 18: AB 241, a bill to regulate commercial dog and cat breeders in California, appeared to be dead on Tuesday, July 14, when the California Senate Public Safety Committee failed to pass it on a 3-3 vote. 

The sponsor, Rep.  Pedro Nava, even talked about bringing it up next year.

But then on Thursday, July 16. the committee reconvened, and this time Senate President Pro Tem, Sen. Darrell Steinberg, was present. The bill passed by a vote of 4-0.

As the saying goes, it ain’t over till it’s over…. The bill now goes to the Appropriations Committee.

Update May 26: By a vote of 60-14 the California puppy mill bill, AB 241, has passed the Assembly!

Update May 13: By a vote of 13-3, AB 241 has now passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee!   

16 thoughts on “CA Gov. Schwarzenegger Vetoes Anti-Puppy Mill Bill”

  1. If a breeder had 50 breeding animals of which 25 were females, he could produce 100-175 puppies twice a year(assuming the litters are 4 each or 7 each). Now suppose that instead of having 25 females, the breeder has 45 females and 5 males – 180 puppies or 315 puppies —sounds an awful lot like a puppy mill to me with the puppies being the cash crop.

    One of the essentials of a good pet dog or puppy is that the animal had lots of early socialization with family members and other people. There is no way in hell a breeder with this many puppies per year is going to have the time or space to have the puppies in the house, on the lawn, playing with toys, each other and the kids.

    And how much influence did the AKC have in lobbying for this number of breeders? They will surely get their money’s worth in registrations- won’t they?

  2. Could it be about sales tax, vendors licenses, kennel fees? MONEY. Always in a situation like this look for the MONEY.
    It is always there. His state it broke, now he sees the laws in his state, reveneue lost in the past and now a chance to
    bring money into the states using the SUFFERING DOGS.

    Does this help with enforcement, absolutely not, just like in many states, LACK of ENFORCEMENT is the problem. Laws
    are there but no enforcement. What states are missing is the revenue of the cost of citations. However, why do it
    when the money is easier to bring in this way.

    Rotten shame and today is a day I am not proud of United States!!!!!

  3. For every adopted from a puppy mill, 3 others are killed or die. The Gov. should be ashamed. From a monetary perspective (if we must), our tax dollars are picking up the cost of puppy mills by bearing the cost burden of millions of dogs and cats dumped at shelters. How can we continue to justify mass breeding when 70% of adopted pets do not live out their lives in loving homes!

  4. I am absolutly disgusted. Has he ever seen a puppy mill? And does he not know that pet store puppies come from puppy mills? Does he care? I think not…someone with money got to him…wonder who that would be….

  5. The Governor of California is a joke! What in the world was he thinking?? HE WASN’T!! How can he sleep at night? Sad, sad, sad :'(
    The animals always suffer

  6. WHAT A SHAMEFUL AND SELFISH ACT BY THE GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA! Either he has never been to a puppy mill to see the the cruel and inhumane ways these innocent creatures are treated or he is simply a cruel and inhumane person! I am so thoroughly disappointed in this man right now as I think back on the poor dogs I have encountered in my life, rescued from puppy mills with their never ending health problems, sociability problems, scars from abuse, deformities from been bred over and over while crammed in a small cage……..perhaps a member of his family should have the unfortunate experience of the mill life for only one week…….that would surely open his eyes and uncloud his incredibly poor judgment! What planet are you from Governor? Is it acceptable to torture animals where you come from? I am so ashamed to think that I had held some for of respect for you in the past….that is now long gone and buried, along with most animals from the mills thanks to people like you!

  7. I agree with Annie B. This simply is not enough. There are still too many puppies & kittens being born. It doesn’t provide enough limits to REALLY make a difference. Why pass frivolous laws. Spend the tax dollars more wisely and submit legislation that will truly MAKE A MEASURABLE DIFFERENCE! I’m not saying that the Govenor is right, but I can’t say I 100% disagree with him either.

    Breeders need to be held accountable for the quality of animal they are breeding, selling, and transferring and limiting a breeder to 50 breeding animals just won’t provide better quality animals (better socialization, care, etc.) At least not in any significant, measurable way.

    Keep fighting California! You CAN make it happen!

  8. Okay so from what i’m reading Arnold’s office and his statement claims that this bill wouldn’t have solved the problem.


    Who’s job is it to make a bill that is passable and he’s just acknowledged the problem here?

    Obviously there are lobbyists who are paid to screw this up.

    I’d like to hear Arnolds’ suggested solution to the obvious puppy mill problem since he does admit that this is a problem. How about making this industry less of an industry by regulating it.


  9. I’d just like to point out that your state is broke. Like you owe money to the Chinese mob so you can’t show up at work kind of broke. Passing more legislation that would require more man hours to enforce, and taxing your state’s resources even more is not the answer. You people need to figure out what is most important to you and spend your own money to support it. Boycott puppy mills, throw paint, and the rest, but for christ sake stop driving your state into debt. It’s called responsibility, and your state is seriously lacking. Get your shit together, stop destroying your productive citizens with massive taxation, and maybe then they’ll have some free time to spend taking care of other issues like this.

  10. So if this bill WASN’T Schwarzenegger’s solution to the puppy mill hell hole problem, I’d like to know what IS!

  11. mabey Arnold should visit some animal shelters and see there should be limits so maney animals are being put to death every day because there are no limits.

  12. It seem to me that Arnold has his hands full, but when something of this nature passes all the way up to him, and he vetoes it, it’s like he’s lost his reasoning power. His reason for vetoing it, doesn’t hold water. Did he not understand the language of the bill, or what?

  13. i agree but this bill should have gotten passed I mean the state wastes money carelessly on war but they can’t spend money on a bill that can at least attempt at preventing animal cruelty since its a huge issue. He doesn’t seem to think its a big deal because he does not understand the severity of the issue or how much these animals suffer. It might seem irrelevant that i brought up war but its not much different every time they screw up worse and this is just an example of that. He was being irresponsible and it shows a lot about his character. He is just another greedy politician.

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