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Oceanside Outlaws Sales Of ‘Puppy Mill’ Pets

A divided Oceanside City Council decided Wednesday to join 16 other California cities and 54 more across the nation that have banned the sale of "puppy mill" dogs and cats — pets sold by commercial breeders.

The council approved the ban on a 3-2 vote, with Councilmen Jerry Kern and Jack Feller opposed. The action will shut down Oceanside Puppy, a pet store that buys dogs from a wholesale distributor.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez supported the ban, saying the council's intention is to prevent animal cruelty and discourage puppy mill mass breeding practices. Joining her in passing the ordinance were Mayor Jim Wood and Chuck Lowery.

David Salinas, owner of Oceanside Puppy, said his customers are happy with the pets he sells, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations that govern licensed breeders ensure animal health and safety.

Photo by Promise Yee

Oceanside Puppy owner David Salinas, center, and his employees show off dogs for sale, Dec 2014

“People should have the right to choose to buy a puppy from a legitimate pet store that works with legitimate licensed breeders, or go adopt,” Salinas said. “I mean, we’re all for adoption, but adoption isn’t for everybody.”

Oceanside has looked at the puppy mill issue since the pet store on Oceanside Boulevard opened more than a year ago and attracted weekly protests.

Salinas previously ran a pet store in San Diego until the City Council there approved a similar ordinance in July 2013.

The Oceanside City Council considered a puppy mills sales ban in September 2013, but it failed. Talk of trying again began last month after Lowery was elected to the council. In November, he defeated Councilman Gary Felien, who opposed the ban.

The new Oceanside law allows the sale of dogs and cats from animal shelters, rescue organizations and small-scale noncommercial breeders. It gives store owner Salinas six months to comply with the new law.

Salinas said he would stay open and pursue litigation against the city if the law is finalized.

"We’re hoping that the various federal court cases all around the country battling these types of bans will take effect," he said." If that passes, obviously all these ordinances will be null and void.”

Salinas has two others stores, in National City and Corona.

Promise Yee is a North County freelance writer. Contact her at promise805@hotmail.com. Twitter: @promisenews. Facebook: promise.yee.1.

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