Written by: Patricia I. James**
The City of Los Angeles has banned the sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits by pet stores. (http://www.examiner.com/article/los-angeles-bans-the-sale-pet-stores-of-puppy-mill-pets). The ban starts around May of this year and will expire on June 30, 2016 unless it is extended by ordinance. “The purpose of the three-year program is to ascertain how effective the ordinance is in increasing adoptions and reducing the number of animals euthanized per year.”
Although the law will allow individuals to buy directly from breeders, pet stores will only be allowed to sell rescued animals obtained from shelters, humane societies and registered rescue groups. A penalty of $250 will be incurred for the first violation, $500 for the second and $1000 for the third.
The Humane Society of the United States has applauded this move. (humanesociety.org Press Releases). This places Los Angeles among the more than 25 cities in the U.S. and Canada that have enacted this type of ordinance.
Councilman Paul Koretz, who championed the ordinance, stated that “Los Angeles euthanizes tens of thousands of animals a year, at a significant cost to taypayers, and there is no reason to ship in hundreds of commercially produced animals from out of state. The city wants to encourage people to adopt homeless animals here in Los Angeles.”
This article went on to state that “[t]he financial success of companies that refuse to sell puppies and kittens, such as the nation’s largest retail supply store chains PETCO and PetSmart, is proof that a humane business model is successful. In addition to the large retail chains, more than 1,900 independent pet shops around the country have voluntarily signed The HSUS’ Puppy Friendly Pet Store Pledge, agreeing to make it their official policy not to sell puppies in their stores.” A link on this article goes to a list of these stores.
Finally, the article sets forth the following facts:
(1) Cities with a similar ordinance in effect include Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Lake Worth, FL And Irvine, CA.
(2) A puppy mill is an inhumane, commercial dog breeding facility in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits.
(3) The HSUS estimates that there are about ten thousand puppy mills in the United States that churn out two to four million puppies for the pet trade every year.
Although there will be pet store owners who will complain that they cannot turn a profit, there was a letter written to the editor of the Los Angeles Times when this ordinance was being proposed last year. The letter, written by Teresa Chagrin of Norfolk, VA, an animal care and control specialist at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, stated, in part, “[p]et stores can still make a mint by selling companion animal supplies and accessories. Live animal sales account for only a small fraction of pet stores’ profits. Last year, Americans spent more than $11 billion on companion animal supplies and that number is expected to be even higher this year.”
In sum, this seems to be a win-win for everyone, including the animals. Well, not for the puppy mill owners. Good. I hope that, sooner than later, puppy mills will no longer exist because ordinances like these put them out of business.
**No portion of this Post is intended to constitute legal advice. The views expressed are solely those of the author.