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San Diego Proposal To Ban Retail Sale Of Dogs, Cats And Rabbits Moves Forward

A San Diego proposal to ban the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores and commercial establishments was approved Wednesday by the City Council's Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee.

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A proposal to ban the retail sale of pets in San Diego aims to eliminate inhumane animal mills and encourage adoptions from shelters.

The ordinance will now go to the full City Council for final approval.

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

If passed, it would would be "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."

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 and SPCA, said the ordinance would help find more homes for the 45,000 animals that come through the shelter system in San Diego County.

"Puppy Mills are nothing short of commercially sanctioned animal cruelty. And nothing endorses this industry more than the sale of animals in pet stores," said Weitzman in a released statement.

David Salinas, the owner of one puppy retail store in the city, told committee members he is a moral and ethical person.

"Puppy mills do not produce healthy puppies -- we have healthy puppies, I need to declare that, you need to understand that,'' said Salinas, CEO and founder of San Diego Puppy Inc.

In an earlier interview, Salinas told KPBS, "The majority of people want a legitimate pet store that deals with legitimate breeders. 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.

The 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.

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.

City News Service contributed to the information in this report.

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