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 20 different categories of animal protection.

California
Overall Rank: #9 (Top Tier)

  • +Animals may be included in protection orders
  • +Veterinarians must report suspected animal cruelty, and have immunity for doing so in good faith
  • +Mandatory post-conviction possession ban
  • -Seizure and pre-conviction forfeiture statute is not clear, and pre-conviction forfeiture is very limited
  • -Standards for minimum acceptable care for animals (e.g. necessary food, water, shelter) are not well-defined

Active Legislation

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Active Cases

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Recent Victories

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.
pigs

Challenging Cal EXPO’s Use of Farrowing Crates (2017)

The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the California Exposition and State Fair and Regents of the University of California on grounds that the State Fair's inhumane treatment of nursing and pregnant pigs violates state animal cruelty laws.
Puppy poking head through metal fence

Challenging Stockton Animal Shelters Care of Animals

The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the city of Stockton, California, and Stockton Animal Services, for violation of local and state laws. The lawsuit was settled in 2015, with the Stockton animal shelter showing significant improvements.
California Bull Run

California Bull Run

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit that put an end to the Great Bull Run—an event in which three dozen panicked bulls are forced to stampede down a narrow track with up to a thousand runners.
coyote

Challenge Mendocino County, CA Contract with Wildlife Services

The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued Mendocino County, California, for violating the California Environmental Quality Act by renewing a contract with the federal wildlife-killing program known as Wildlife Services.
chicken

Challenging Trader Joe’s Misleading Egg Carton Labeling

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Trader Joe’s Company on behalf of a Trader Joe’s egg purchaser, seeking to stop Trader Joe’s from deceptively labeling its cage-free eggs and misleading consumers seeking eggs.

Take Action

Take action now to help animals in your state.

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