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Encinitas Bans Sale Of Commercially Bred Dogs, Cats

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Encinitas has become the fourth city in San Diego County to approve an ordinance to ban the sale of dogs and cats from commercial breeders.

The city of San Diego, Chula Vista and Oceanside have also approved bans. San Marcos has imposed a temporary moratorium on stores that sell puppies from what animal rights advocates call “puppy mills.

Encinitas resident and animal advocate Laurie Michaels said there are currently no pet stores in Encinitas selling animals from commercial breeders, but this vote sets an example for other cities.

“It’s much easier to put this ban in place when you don’t have an operating business that will fight us on it," she said. “So, we’re basically putting it out that these stores that get their animals from inhumane breeding facilities, are not welcome in Encinitas.”

Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar told a packed city hall at Wednesday night's meeting that she has never received so many emails about an issue and the flood of messages crashed her inbox.

Encinitas Report on New Pet Ordinance
Encinitas Staff Report on Regulating the Sale of Dogs and Cats, for July 24th 2015 Vote
To view PDF files, download Acrobat Reader.

The City Council voted unanimously, with one member absent, to approve the ordinance.

Several cities are waiting for the outcome of a lawsuit in Arizona that would settle unresolved legal issues around passing "puppy mill" store bans. Phoenix passed an anti-puppy mill ordinance in 2013, but a temporary restraining order prevents the city from enforcing the law. An Arizona District Court has yet to rule on various constitutional issues related to the ban.

However, about 80 cities nationwide have already enacted retail pet sale bans, mostly in the past five years, according to Best Friends Animal Society, an organization with a mission to end the killing of animals in America’s shelters.

Encinitas’ ordinance states: “The council finds the sale of dogs and cats from commercial breeders contributes to the proliferation of homeless or unwanted animals that end up in public animal shelters or humane societies.”

It prohibits pet stores from selling animals except from shelters, the Humane Society or from non-profit rescue organizations.