Best Friends Blog

Los Angeles poised to take the lead against puppy mills

It’s no secret that most pet stores sell puppies sourced from puppy mills. The puppy in the window is the smiley face plastered on top of an industry built on cruelty.

Puppy mills had been the target of animal welfare organizations for decades, but apart from the occasional exposé and passing public outrage, nothing much came of the effort. Those consumers who knew enough to be concerned about where a particular puppy came from were usually flat-out lied to by pet store staff and assured that the pup came from a responsible breeder.

It wasn’t until the fight was brought to the outlets that sell puppy mill animals that we began to get real traction. In 2007, Best Friends added action at the pet store level to our long-time advocacy against puppy mills.

Best Friends staff and volunteers in Los Angeles, along with other activists, began peaceful demonstrations at Los Angeles–area puppy mill outlets. These puppy store demonstrations, which are really public information and educational activities, have been very successful in ending the sale of puppy mill dogs at a number of local retail outlets in L.A. and Orange County and even contributed to a national mall chain’s decision to phase out pet stores in their malls in favor of hosted adoption events by rescues and shelters.

The big news, however, over the last few years has been at the municipal level, where city councils are taking the bold measure to ban the sale of mill-bred pets in their communities.

The first city of consequence to do so was Albuquerque in 2006. Albuquerque was followed by bans in a group of smaller cities, including a cluster in Southern California. The move makes economic as well as humane and common sense. Cities spend millions on animal-sheltering services and not only do many shelter animals come from pet stores, when it comes time to find an adoptive home for stray or abandoned pets, shelters and rescues compete for consumer attention with pet stores and, ultimately, puppy mills.

In June, Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz introduced a motion, the first step in passing an ordinance, to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits within the city of Los Angeles. Elizabeth Oreck, who heads up Best Friends puppy mill initiatives, has worked closely with Councilman Koretz over the last couple of years to bring this to fruition. The final ordinance will come up for a vote before Council within the month. This would be a huge victory for the animals.

Read what the Los Angeles Times has to say about the issue.


Francis Battista


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  • Nancy M. Medley

    There should be no puppy mills in LA. The animals are  not treated  well.
    Please put a ban on all puppy mills in LA.
    Thank you,
    Nancy M. Medley

  • Also, say no to online selling as well. Adopt do not buy.

  • Adopt do not buy. Spay and neuter. Report abuse. Sign petitions to rid of horror puppy mills that are abusive and there just to make a big fast buck. No vet care, no proper food, filthy small cages in heat and cold for the over breed female that suffers to give a pup that is also often ill.11000 dog sand cats animals are killed each and every day and many are good animals that die. So very few  are lucky as we try to rescue and find homes for them. Many are killed in gas chambers. Adopt don’t buy. Save one, you will be glad you did. Say “No” to puppy mills and the abuse that goes on there.

  • I volunteer with rescue animals, and everyday I see abandoned animals who, through no fault of their own, are at risk of being killed in animal “shelters” because of the objectification of animals.  This is a necessary step toward changing that wrong perception.

  • K Niles

    Pet Adoption is the only way! 

  • tdw

    there are great rescue only stores like Barks & Bitches in Los Angeles – with puppies and cuties pulled from the local shelters 🙂  Barks & Bitches rocks! 

  • diana

    I read the LA times article and then the comments. Shocked at the few who think puppy mills (with semantics – because they have no legal definition) are ok, that rescues are the villains because they euthanize animals, and that pets stores will go out of business. Oh and my fave, the right wingers want the left wingers to eff off as this is not any of their business. Did anyone think of the many animals suffering? When ideology overshadows compassion I think it’s time we all shoot ourselves in the head and let the non human animals take over the world. Geeze….

  • Elizabeth O

    For those Los Angeles residents who would like to contact the city council to express support for the ordinance, here is the link to a quick and easy form that will send your comments directly to your council representative:

  • Wendy

    warch out for PIJAC! they have big bucks ready to battle for the puppy mills and the AKC  (puppy registrations!)

    • Elizabeth O

      Thanks, Wendy.  They have already sent out a national alert saying that this ordinance will “ban all pets in Los Angeles”, which is clearly not the case.  Hopefully, people will see beyond these fear tactics and realize that this ordinance is a good thing for both the animals and the residents of L.A.

    • n a

      You know, I saw an ‘expose’ on the AKC several years ago and the whole piece was about how you could so easily register a dog with no real documentation.  The people who did the report just made up a bunch of names and created paperwork and ta-da! they had 12 AKC registered pups. 

  • Marissa J Garcia

    i love this! all westcor malls in Arizona have changed the stores that used to sell puppies now are adoption centers! i honestly see much more traffic going through those stores now that they are adoption centers that are a lower cost and are going towards a fantastic organization. I cant wait for more cities and states to remedy this long drawn out issue.

  • What a great solution.  Cities can definitely regulate what businesses can and can’t sell and doing it on a municipal level seems much more manageable.  It would be great to see a step-by-step guide for us in other cities so we can get these initiatives going wherever we live.  Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Good news.  Thanks.

  • Mara

    I hope the rest of the country follows Los Angeles lead!