U.S. Cities Requiring Pet Stores to Sell Rescue Dogs Only

Updated on June 5, 2019

The Movement to Annihilate Puppy Mills

Pet stores often buy from puppy mills where dogs are locked in filthy cages solely for the purpose of producing puppies for profit. These dogs sometimes live their entire lives not knowing freedom or human affection.

In recent years, cities across the U.S. have passed laws prohibiting the sale of dogs bred in puppy mills. They hope that their efforts will stem unethical breeding practices and help more unwanted dogs get adopted.

Thus far, 202 cities have passed a ban on selling puppy-mill dogs. The list includes big metropolitans, such as Phoenix and Philadelphia, and less well-known towns, such as Watchung, NJ and Indio, CA. Pet stores in these cities are required to sell only rescue dogs. For now, these ordinances are only passing at the local level, but many animal rights activists are pushing for state bans.

Cities in 18 states have joined the movement to free pets from the cruel practice of commercial breeding. Of the states on this list, New Jersey leads the way with 91 cities! Read the table below to see how your state stacks up.


States With Cities That Ban Sale of Non-Rescue Pets

Number of Cities
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Rhode Island

The Most Recent City to Join the Pack

In February 2017, San Francisco joined a long list of U.S. cities that are taking a stance against puppy mills by requiring pet stores to sell rescue dogs rather than puppies that are commercially bred in inhumane conditions. The ordinance does not affect licensed breeders.

San Francisco hopes that this law will be a deterrent against unethical breeders who keep female dogs caged in filthy conditions for the sole purpose of churning out puppies. The Humane Society hopes that this law also offers a convenient avenue for adoption now that rescue puppies are on display in pet stores around the city.


California Cities That Ban Sale of Non-Rescue Pets

Date of Enactment
Aliso Viejo
May 16, 2012
Beverly Hills
August 2015
February 2013
May 2016
Cathedral City
January 2016
Chino Hills
October 2014
Chula Vista
March 2012
June 2016
Dana Point
February 2012
July 2015
Garden Grove
March 2015
August 2011
Hermosa Beach
March 2010
Huntington Beach
June 2012
April 2016
October 2011
Laguna Beach
May 2012
La Quinta
April 2016
Long Beach
March 2015
Los Angeles
October 2012
January 2015
Palm Springs
October 2015
Rancho Mirage
February 2013
San Diego
July 2013
San Francisco
February 2017
San Marcos
January 2016
Solana Beach
July 2016
South Lake Tahoe
April 2009
February 2016
September 2015
West Hollywood
February 2010

Support Adoption

Each year, about 3 million dogs are put down in overcrowded shelters. These cities are doing the right thing by taking a stand against unethical breeding practices. Hopefully, their efforts will eventually make puppy mill businesses obsolete and help more dogs find homes. I encourage everyone to support their local shelters and pet stores that sell rescue puppies.



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    • Petcessories profile image

      Savanna H 

      22 months ago

      This is great! I hope the movement continues.


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