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Politics

Oceanside's New Council Takes Up Issue Of Puppy Mills


Oceanside’s newly elected city councilman Chuck Lowery joins the council dais (second from right).  Also shown, from left : councilwoman Esther Sanchez,  city manager, Steven Jepson, mayor Jim Wood and councilman Jack Feller. Dec 3, 2014
Promise Yee
Oceanside’s newly elected city councilman Chuck Lowery joins the council dais (second from right). Also shown, from left : councilwoman Esther Sanchez, city manager, Steven Jepson, mayor Jim Wood and councilman Jack Feller. Dec 3, 2014

The political makeup of the Oceanside City Council changed in November, with Democrat Chuck Lowery defeating incumbent Republican Gary Felien.

One of the first actions of the newly seated City Council this week was to reconsider the sale of what animal-rights activists call "puppy mill" dogs.

Lowery was the swing vote in favor of a motion to direct staff to draft an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of mass-bred dogs and cats through wholesale distributors.

Lowery said the puppy mill issue was pivotal for his supporters.

“When I started my campaign, I had no idea that this was such a big issue with such a large part of the community,” Lowery said.

He said many residents agreed to vote for him when they discovered he was in favor of shutting down stores that sell mass-bred puppies.

Animal rights supporters have held weekly rallies outside  Oceanside Puppy since the store opened over a year ago.
Promise Yee
Animal rights supporters have held weekly rallies outside Oceanside Puppy since the store opened over a year ago.

Oceanside first considered a ban in September 2013, after a pet shop selling such dogs opened. The store moved to Oceanside from San Diego, after the San Diego City Council banned the sale of mass-bred dogs.

Oceanside’s council majority, including Felien, voted against the proposed ban.

On Wednesday, the council took the first step to reconsider ending local puppy mill sales.

Re-elected Councilman Jerry Kern cast the "no" vote against a ban. Kern said federal regulations on breeding are enough.

“People have the right to buy what they want to buy,” Kern said. “It’s a regulated, legal product.”

Speakers at the meeting said posted breeder information at Oceanside Puppy pet store shows that dogs for sale are supplied by the Hunte Corp., and bred by Missouri mass breeders, who have been cited for violations.

Oceanside Puppy owner, David Salinas, center, shows off dogs for sale along with his employees.  2014
Promise Yee
Oceanside Puppy owner, David Salinas, center, shows off dogs for sale along with his employees. 2014

The proposed ordinance would not close Oceanside Puppy outright or affect small-scale breeders. If passed, regulations would ban sales of dogs and cats obtained through wholesale distributors.

A vote on the ordinance is expected in January.

Sixteen California cities, including San Diego, have passed ordinances to ban puppy mill dog sales.

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