The Consumer Protection Act prohibits funding for puppies and kittens in California

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SACRAMENTO, California. – Today Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 2380 banning online pet retailers from offering consumer credit for dogs and cats. This measure is another step forward in limiting the number of animals bred in California in puppy and kitten factories.

A retail sales ban on dogs and cats came into effect in 2019, but did not extend to online sales. According to shipping and courier companies that facilitate the transportation of animals, California is the nation’s top importer of dogs and cats. Online sales allow puppy mills to continue to reach customers in California through the cloak of sanitized images and obfuscated pedigree information. Most major online brokers who ship puppies to domestic customers offer financing.

Funding can be an important part of pet sales offerings. Average consumers may not be able to afford to spend thousands of dollars on a pup, but predatory lenders can easily convert casual browsers into buyers by pasting a link to instantly apply for seemingly low-interest or zero-interest short-term financing — even for those with bad or bad credit no credit. Full disclosure of interest rates, fees, payout amount, and general loan terms is only available after a loan application has been submitted and—critically—after there is an emotional connection to a photograph and a desire to purchase a particular animal.

“Funding for predatory puppies can increase the rate of impulse purchases of puppies – leading to financial hardship for borrowers and young puppies with families who do not have the resources to adequately care for them,” said Stephen Wells, Executive Director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “The same lenders that dominated the retail pet market now have a strong online presence chasing Californians. This new law will protect both consumers and animals.”

“Buying a pet is an exciting time for many, yet these vulnerabilities are often exploited by exploitative online lenders who offer enticing but predatory loans,” said Assembly Member Brian Maienschein. “AB 2380 will protect California consumers by prohibiting online pet retailers from offering consumer loans to purchase a dog or cat.”

The bill passed the Legislature in August 2022 after being introduced to the California Assembly by Rep. Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego) in February 2022. The law, sponsored by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, bans retailers from providing consumer credit to individuals to purchase cats and dogs.

In 2021, Illinois enacted a law known as the Holmes Act banning pet funding. Pennsylvania is considering similar legislation.

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