These Central Coast pet shops no longer sell puppies amid ‘puppy laundering’ lawsuit

Animal Kingdom — a pet store chain with locations in Pismo Beach and Grover Beach, as well as Santa Maria — will no longer be selling puppies at its Central Coast shops, after a new state law restricted where the business could get their animals.

According to Facebook posts on the store’s separate Pismo Beach and Grover Beach pages on April 15, Animal Kingdom sold their last puppies that week. The Santa Maria shop is also no longer selling puppies.

The business attributed its decision to a lack of sources for puppies, now that the state has prohibited pet shops from selling animals that don’t come from nonprofit organizations or rescue groups.

“There is a very limited availability of pets who are an appropriate size and health condition to come into our stores,” read the April 15 post. “The supply of puppies has been up and down, which has been difficult. When these 2 puppies find new families, we will no longer be carrying puppies.” (Both puppies have since been sold, a store employee said.)

The decision comes after Animal Kingdom came under fire from a non-profit dog advocacy group. According to a complaint fired March 5 by Bailing Out Benji and attorneys for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the business was involved in a “puppy laundering operation” and selling animals acquired from so-called “puppy mills.”

An Animal Kingdom representative at the Grover Beach store declined to comment on the decision to stop selling puppies Tuesday, citing the pending lawsuit. Requests for comment from the organization’s Facebook pages returned the same response.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.