Pet Shop Sales Banned!

by Mary Haight on February 16, 2010

pet shop
Image by martin cleary via Flickr

Update: 2/17  It’s official, the ban on pet shop sales passed!  While no surprise, the work in bringing this legislation to fruition can now be passed along as a model to other cities and townships, who have been calling from across the US and even from Europe for this “blueprint.”

Carole Davis, West Coast director of the Companion Animal Protection Society, one of the main proponents of this ordinance, will be taking this campaign to LA.

Today is the day West Hollywood makes a decision on their ordinance to ban pet shop sales of pets.  In just a few hours we’ll know if this ban will become law.  While the law would take effect March 19 if passed, shops will be given until September 2011 to meet the new legal requirements, winding down their contractual arrangements with the commercial factory farms that churn out puppies like so many parts on an assembly line.  South Lake, Tahoe adopted a similar law last year, according to the Humane Society of the United States. 

Speaking of HSUS, 38 pet shops in California have taken their pledge to stop selling puppies and kittens, instead working with rescues, shelters, and good family breeders. (By the way, good breeders don’t sell on the internet, so don’t be fooled.)  The Mercury News reports that 500 pet shops nationwide have taken the pledge to stop selling pets. It’s a good start.  Now people need to simply stop buying from pet shops.

As I’ve said in other blogs, when you buy from a pet shop you’re part of the problem.  Even more so if you think you are saving an animal. It’s a harsh truth that you’re simply creating an order for a replacement animal.  If you look at this a little closer, there’s another repercussion.  Check your local animal control numbers euthanized against pet shop sales.

In LA the kill count was close to 100,000 last year.  Buying a pet in a pet shop while approximately 8000 dogs and cats are put down each month sounds irrational when it’s put that way, doesn’t it?  And our tax dollars are paying for it, so what is the thinking behind the action here?  Out of 8000 animals a month, I bet there’s at least one that would work out very well for anyone.  We can’t keep pretending that there’s no relationship between numbers killed and numbers bought at a pet shop. 

As the first city in the country to ban declawing of cats in 2003, West Hollywood has the reputation of being in the vanguard of changing animals lives for the better. And they are helping the rest of us find a way out of the sticky and unexpected opposition that instituting animal welfare laws presents.  They are the Pied Piper for humane communities.

Pets in West Hollywood are companions and owners are guardians. They must have solved all the legalities involved with changing the status of animals from pets, or owned property, to a companion/guardian relationship, a completely different model not based on ownership. Do you have any information on this point? Please share!

The really smart thing here may be that the AKC lobbyists can’t shut down local ordinances the way they gut State legislative attempts at recitifying the puppy mill problem.  Another useful tactic, maybe a game-changer, and illustrative of  that maxim that all politics is local.

What’s your take on this? How do you think this would affect animal welfare in your town, and are there already pet shops changing their business models, or does Petland litter your area?

(Source: Silicon Valley Mercury News)

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17 comments
Gerrad
Gerrad

Can i have you contact email?

Sheena
Sheena

This is so great!! I agree with Amy in that I too hope it spreads. I'm hoping one day this can be made a provincial or federal law. With millions of pets needing homes there is no reason why pet stores can't 'showcase' shelter dogs or cats.

Amy@GoPetFriendly
Amy@GoPetFriendly

Great news!! Let's hope this spreads as quickly as the no-smoking ordinances did!!

Karen Friesecke
Karen Friesecke

I'm very pleased with this legislation! In Ontario there are very few pet shops that sell animals now, anyways. There are still a few "offenders" that sell puppies and kittens & I refuse to patronize these stores. The large stores like petsmart have cats that are all rescues from shelters and on the weekends they sometimes have adoption drives for dogs.

Steve
Steve

While this legislation is commendable, it will likely be met with challenging lawsuits. How long has the South Lake Tahoe law been in effect? Has it been challenged? Personally, I don't understand why anyone would pay hundreds of dollars for a pet store puppy that is likely to have health issues when perfectly good dogs (or cats) are available for a fraction of that price at local shelters.

KelleyDenz
KelleyDenz

It's a great start in the right direction, and it seems many other cities will be enacting this law also. I hope this will help with more animals being adopted. I am a foster parent for our local animal shelter and we have seen a huge increase in the number of animals being dropped off in the last year.

Edie
Edie

Thanks for this post, Mary. It amazes me that many people still don't get the connection between pet store sales and puppy mills. Legislation -- and widespread coverage of it -- remain crucial.

Nico and The Bandit
Nico and The Bandit

I live in Alabama where puppy mills abound. It's hard to pass any animal rights legislation because hunting lobbies block them.

michele
michele

I totally agree with you that people who purchase pets from a pet store are a huge part of the problem. I look forward to the day when puppy mills and cat mills no longer exist. This is good news and I hope the dogs and cats win, and that the rest of the world will take notice.

Rod@GoPetFriendly
Rod@GoPetFriendly

This action to ban retail sales of puppies is a good one - my opinion. I wouldn't even be against sunset legislation to ban the sales until say 2013 or so, so that the effectiveness of the ban could be evaluated. I have two concerns. #1 - I don't understand why sales will continue until Spe 2011. Most contracts have an escape clause that allow either party an out should the subject of the contract become against public policy. #2 - I read on someone's blog (wish I could provide cite) that rescues import dogs from other states and countries. While I am not against a more global solution of finding homes for dogs needing rescue, I am wondering if the "please rescue this dog about to be euthanized" mentality or urgency will ever go away. And not to be suspicious, but I sometimes wonder if this mentality is created by the rescues themselves ... because they stand to financially benefit from the adoption fees. What do you think?

Dee Green
Dee Green

As a former resident of Los Angeles (currently residing in Santa Monica), I was part of a rescue coalition that attempted to persuade Los Angeles Animal Services to consider banning the retail sale of out-of-state puppies and kittens back in 2005. The response from their (former) General Manager, Ed Boks: "That won't ever happen." I'm THRILLED the City of West Hollywood might prove Mr. Boks wrong, very soon. As you point out, West Hollywood has been instrumental in changing the way elective animal surgeries, such as declawing, tail & ear docking, are regarded in many Southern California municipalities. I can only hope all the positive press this issue is getting will do the same for the retail sales of puppies and kittens from factory breeding facilities (aka "puppy mills").

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by dogspelledfwd: Legislating Ban on Pet Shops Selling Pets | Dancing Dog Blog http://bit.ly/avbuau

  2. […] great news on the puppy mill front from Dancing Dog Blog. West Hollywood has banned sales of puppies and kittens! Can I get a […]

  3. […] reported by DancingDogBlog, the city of West Hollywood passed an ordinance that will ban the pet shop sale of pets. This is a wonderful step toward reducing puppy mills and cat farms. The ordinance has captured the […]

  4. […] through some pet shops, puppy mills posts, I noticed one from 2010 that mentioned 500 pet shops had pledged to not sell pets. A new report from HSUS states that more than 2000 pet stores have now signed the pledge – a […]

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