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San Diego To Consider Banning Dog, Cat Sales At Retail Stores

San Diego is considering a ban on the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits. KPBS reporter Susan Murphy tells us the idea is to encourage more adoptions from shelters.

San Diego is considering a ban on the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits, mirroring similar initiatives in cities across the nation, including Chula Vista.

San Diego is considering a ban on the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits, mirroring similar initiatives in cities across the nation, including Chula Vista.

The San Diego City Council's Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee is scheduled on Wednesday to take up the proposed ordinance, which if passed would 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."

The ordinance is aimed at curtailing puppy mills and addressing the inhumane conditions in the puppy mill industry.

Animal advocacy groups report 99 percent of canines sold in pet stores come from inhumane puppy mills, which fail to provide adequate veterinary care.

Gary Weitzman, president of the San Diego Humane Society, said the ordinance would help find more homes for the 45,000 animals that come through the shelter system in San Diego County. He said Petco and PetSmart are leaders in retail store pet adoptions.

“And that’s actually a model where adoptable animals from shelters and nonprofits and rescue groups are actually brought into those facilities to be adopted,” said Weitzman.

“And that’s a win for everybody because we adopt animals that are homeless, and those commercial facilities, those stores get to increase their sales and have a great relationship with the community,” he added.

The owner of the lone puppy retail store in the city said the ordinance is unfortunate and that the “bad eggs” shouldn’t ruin it for everybody else.

“The majority of people want a legitimate pet store that deals with legitimate breeders that are American Kennel Club (AKC) and AKC partner registers,” said David Salinas, CEO and founder of San Diego Puppy Inc. “We’ve done everything right in San Diego, and the reason we continue to prosper and grow is because we have a lot of referrals and repeat customers.”

If passed, San Diego would become the 32nd city in nation with a retail pet ban.

Mike Canning, CEO of Pet industry Joint Advisory Council from Washington, DC., Is representing David Salinas at Wednesday’s hearing. Canning said the proposed ordinance stems from puppy market competition.

“Shelters and other types of rescues – they sell a lot of animals, and sometimes for $400 or $500 or $600,” said Canning. “So they’re competition to David. So what they do is they try to drum up the misnomer that all of David’s puppies come from substandard breeders and then legislation occurs.”

The proposed ordinance is backed by the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, Animal Protection and Rescue League, San Diego Animal Defense Team and Companion Animal Protection Society.

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