California

Updates about legal issues facing animals in the state

The Animal Legal Defense Fund works at the federal, state and local levels to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals. This page is meant to be used as a resource to see what is happening in your state and what actions you can take for animals.

State Rankings

Each year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund publishes its U.S. State Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report. It is the longest-running and most authoritative of its kind, assessing the strength of each state’s animal protection laws by examining over 3,400 pages of statutes. Each state is ranked based on 19 different categories of animal protection.

California
Overall Rank: #8 (Top Tier)

  • +Animals may be included in protection orders
  • +Veterinarians must report suspected animal cruelty, and have immunity for doing so
  • +Mandatory post-conviction possession ban
  • -Seizure and pre-conviction forfeiture statute is not clear, and pre-conviction forfeiture is very limited
  • -Care requirements/standards are not well defined

Active Legislation

turtles

Banning Live Animal Markets (Los Angeles)

Prohibiting the sale of live animals for human consumption (Motion 20-0425)
The Los Angeles City Council is considering a measure, Motion 20-0425, that would ban the sale of living animals for human consumption in the city.

Active Cases

Chicken

Challenging Foster Farms Slaughterhouse’s Illegal Water Use

The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued Foster Farms, operator of a large slaughterhouse and chicken processing plant in Livingston, California, for its illegal use of vast quantities of water in violation of the California Constitution.
cows

Challenging Restrictions on Plant-Based Dairy Marketing

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Food and Agriculture on behalf of vegan food producer Miyoko's Creamery, after the agency instructed the company to stop using terms like "dairy" and "butter" on its product
puppy

Suing Unscrupulous Puppy Traffickers Who Knowingly Sold Sick Dogs

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the Kenney family seeking to end their deceptive marketing and sale of puppies, and to recover damages for those who were victimized by the puppy traffickers’ unscrupulous conduct.
dog

Challenging a California Puppy Mill for Violating State and Local Laws

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the owner of California Carolina Dogs for operating an illegal puppy mill.
bobcat

Urging Humboldt County, CA to Terminate Contract with Wildlife-Killing Federal Agency

The Animal Legal Defense Fund sent a letter to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and Humboldt County Agriculture Commissioner, urging them to terminate their contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services.
dog

“Puppy Laundering” Scheme Violates California Law

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the Animal Kingdom pet store and purported rescue group Bark Adoptions for unlawfully circumventing the California law that bans the retail sale of dogs.

Recent Victories

mountain lion

Protecting Wildlife from Harmful Poisons (California)

California Ecosystems Protection Act (AB 1788)
Places safeguards on the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides
corgi

Strengthening the State’s Retail Pet Sale Ban (California)

Bella’s Act (AB 2152)
Bella’s Act, AB 2152, strengthens California’s retail pet sale ban and helps ensure pet stores do not profit off animals bred in mills.
pigs

Ending Intensive Confinement in California

Prop 12 – public vote
In 2018, Californians voted to enact Prop 12, taking another major step towards ending the intensive confinement of farmed animals.
dog puppy mills

Challenging the Sale of Puppy Mill Dogs – Barkworks Class Action

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a class action lawsuit against pet store chain Barkworks, on behalf of puppy purchasers harmed by the company’s illegal and deceptive practices in selling puppy mill dogs.

Urging California Air Resources Board to Regulate Factory Farm Emissions

In 2014, the Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted a petition for rulemaking urging the California Air Resources Board to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from factory farming under the state’s cap-and-trade program.

Opposing SeaWorld San Diego Permit for Expansion

The Animal Legal Defense Fund opposed the expansion of SeaWorld San Diego without strict requirements, including not acquiring additional orcas.
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Take Action

Take action now to help animals in your state.

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cow

Stop Ag-Gag Laws

Undercover investigations and whistleblowers have exposed some of the worst aspects of factory farming, but Ag-Gag laws punish people who speak out about cruelty in animal agriculture. Voice your opposition.
dog

No More Puppy Mills

Puppy mill operators maximize their profits by producing large numbers of puppies as quickly as possible. As a result, unsanitary conditions, disease, and neglect are rampant. Sign our pledge to boycott puppy mills. Together we can end cruel puppy mills.
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals

Want to take the next step in your animal advocacy? Learn the skills you need to pass laws protecting animals at the local level! Local laws are critical – not only do they help individual animals in your community but prime state legislation.
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Prohibiting Circuses and Traveling Shows that Exploit Animals

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Prohibiting Circuses and Traveling Shows that Exploit Animals

Learn how wild animals are exploited in circuses and traveling shows, and how you can help!
Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Fur Bans

Using Local Legislation to Protect Animals: Fur Bans

Learn how to fight back against the cruel fur industry by passing a fur ban in your community! Led by Animal Legal Defense Fund Campaigns Manager Elizabeth Holtz, this webinar will walk you through the mechanics of fur production, the policy issues, including animal cruelty, environmental impacts, and public health, and more.