Update 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.
It is well known that large volume commercial breeders, usually called puppy, cat or bird mills, place profit before humane care and treatment and simplyÂ don’t or can’t provide the space, exercise, socialization, affection, veterinary care, grooming, nutrition and safe, clean environmentÂ 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 catÂ mills.Â With fewer animals, commercial breeders could have provided better care and treatment.
Also, it was hoped this historic legislation wouldÂ 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.Â 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,Â large scale expensive rescues would have been less likely. Â
Also, at least one third of animals from mills end up in public shelters, a burden on taxpayers.Â By limiting the breeding, this bill would have over time reduced animal control costs and the numbers of animals that enter shelters.Â
In vetoing this bill, Gov. Schwarzenegger said, "I am returning Assembly Bill 241 without my signature.Â 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."Â
Language of the billÂ Â
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.Â
Counties and cities could impose more restrictions.
A 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 ofÂ 23-8. The bill has already been approved by the House of Representatives but nowÂ goes back there for approval of minor Senate amendments. Â
Update July 18: AB 241, a bill to regulate commercial dog and catÂ breeders in California,Â appeared to be dead on Tuesday, July 14, when the California Senate Public Safety CommitteeÂ failed to passÂ it on a 3-3 vote.Â
The sponsor, Rep. Â Pedro Nava, even talked about bringing it up next year.
But then on Thursday, July 16. the committee reconvened, and this timeÂ Senate President Pro Tem, Sen.Â Darrell Steinberg, was present. The bill passed by a vote of 4-0.
AsÂ the saying goes,Â 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,Â has passed the Assembly!
Update May 13: By a vote of 13-3, AB 241 has now passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee!Â Â Â