Todd Gloria speaks at a ceremony at the San Diego Humane Society on Saturday. Courtesy of his office

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed Assemblyman Todd Gloria‘s bill prohibiting store sales of dogs, cats and rabbits in an effort to end so-called “puppy mills” and promote animal welfare.

Assembly Bill 2152, known as “Bella’s Act,” prohibits retail sales of these pets throughout California while still allowing pet stores the flexibility to partner with rescues and shelters for adoption events.

“This is a tremendous step forward in California’s efforts to protect animal welfare and promote adoptions of rescue animals,” said Gloria. “No animal should experience the cruelty of puppy mills.”

Gloria spoke at a ceremony Saturday outside the San Diego Humane Society to celebrate the governor’s signature late Friday night.

“We are thrilled Gov. Newsom has acted to close loopholes in state law that allowed unscrupulous pet store owners to continue to ship puppy mill puppies into our state for sale,” said Dr. Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of the Humane Society.

According to Best Friends Animal Society, which supported the bill, many pet owners don’t know that when they buy a dog from a pet store or over the internet, that dog most likely came from a puppy mill. In puppy mills, dogs live in small cages, often in the minimum legal size allowed (only six inches larger than the dog on all sides) and female dogs are bred as frequently as possible.

AB 2152 is named after a corgi named “Bella” who was illegally and inhumanely bred in a puppy mill. Bella was sent to a pet store in San Diego County where she was advertised as a rescue and sold for thousands of dollars.

During this experience, Bella was declawed and developed a severe case of bronchitis that caused her owner, Heather, to have to spend thousands of dollars to eventually get her healthy. Though healthy today, Bella still suffers from separation anxiety.

Gloria, who is a candidate for Mayor of San Diego in November, is the owner of a rescue dog named “Diego.”

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.