Today the Los Angeles City Council voted 12-2 to pass an ordinance that will require all retail stores within city limits to only sell dogs, cats and rabbits that have been obtained from animal shelters, humane societies and registered rescue organizations.
However, since the ordinance was not passed unanimously, there must be a final vote at next Wednesday’s council meeting. The ban will go into effect 30 days after it is signed into law.
The new requirement would be a major blow to the puppy mills that supply many retail stores with animals that are kept in filthy, overcrowded facilities.
The ban would also help reduce the number of homeless animals put to death in city shelters each year. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, of the more than 57,000 dogs and cats taken in by city shelters in 2011, 25 percent of the dogs and 57 percent of the cats were euthanized.
Violators of the law would face misdemeanor charges and a first-time fine of $250, which could increase up to $1,000.
“It is good to see the City of Los Angeles move in the right direction for animals,” spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein said in a statement. “Though many see this as only a symbolic gesture, as it only affects 14 pet stores, it represents a shift in the perception of animal welfare. Our city leaders understand the impact unscrupulous breeding has on pet overpopulation. Hopefully, other U.S. cities will follow our lead.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, city council members Mitchell Englander and Bill Rosendahl voted against the ban.
Englander told the Times that the city doesn’t have the resources to enforce it. “With the limited resources we have, we’ve got to focus on the core services,” he said.
Pet store owners also oppose the new law. “It’s just making us suffer,” Candice Ro, who sells small dog breeds in her family’s pet store, told the Times. She said their dogs come from reputable local breeders, not puppy mills. “If we were getting puppy mill puppies that were sick, we wouldn’t have stayed in business this long,” she said.
PHOTO: Simon Carrasco