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SD Pet Shops

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council's Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee is scheduled next week to consider banning the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores and other commercial establishments in San Diego.

A proposal has been made to amend the municipal code to make it ``unlawful for any person to display, offer for sale, deliver, barter, auction, give away, transfer or sell any live dog, cat or rabbit in any pet shop, retail business or other commercial establishment located in the city of San Diego, unless the dog, cat or rabbit was obtained from a city or county animal shelter or animal control agency, a humane society or a nonprofit rescue organization.''

Pet stores would need to keep certificates that state the sources of their animals and make them available to animal control officers, law enforcement, code compliance officials or other city employees.

A report to the committee said dogs, cats and rabbits bred for pet stores are kept in inhumane conditions, and too many of them end up being abandoned by owners -- and end up in shelters. Pets born in such conditions are more likely to carry genetic disorders and are poorly socialized.

The proposed ordinance is supported by the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, Animal Protection and Rescue League, San Diego Animal Defense Team, and Companion Animal Protection Society. The Animal Defense Team regularly protests outside of pet shops.

The groups contend that 99 percent of canines sold in pet stores come from ``puppy mills,'' which overbreed and underfeed them and fail to provide adequate veterinary care. Many of the animals arrive in pet stores in unhealthy condition, their report says.

The San Diego-based Petco chain, as well as Petsmart, offer pet adoptions through shelters and rescue groups.

A dozen cities in California have banned the retail sales of animals, including Chula Vista, according to the report.

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