Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Los Angeles Times on Puppy Mill Sales Ban-Trend Growing Nationwide

Click here to find out more!

L.A. Unleashed


« Previous Post | L.A. Unleashed Home | Next Post »

West Hollywood City Council votes to ban most puppy, kitten sales in pet stores

February 19, 2010 | 8:02 pm

Pet store

The West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve new legislation that prohibits most sales of puppies and kittens in pet stores within city limits.

Under the ban, which takes effect later this year, pet stores will be permitted to offer animals from local shelters rather than those purchased from for-profit breeders. That business model has been implemented in recent years by several L.A.-area pet stores, including Melrose Avenue shop Orange Bone.

Despite the fact that no West Hollywood pet stores currently sell puppies or kittens, the move is seen as a major victory by activists who see it as an early step in the fight to end the problem of puppy mills. "This definitely calls for champagne," Carole Raphaelle Davis, West Coast director of the Companion Animal Protection Society, told our colleague Kate Linthicum before Tuesday's vote. "We're definitely taking this fight to Los Angeles. We want all of the stores citywide to go humane."

The famously liberal-minded West Hollywood has been at the forefront of the animal protection movement for years. In 2002, it amended its city code to refer to animals like dogs and cats as "companions" rather than "pets." (For the record, the word "owner" was also replaced with "guardian.") In 2003, it officially prohibited the declawing of cats, becoming the first city in the U.S. to implement such a ban. Several other California cities followed suit in 2009.

"People outside of the city roll their eyes and tell us we're silly," Councilman Jeffrey Prang, who sponsored the new law, told Linthicum, referring to such legislation. "You only have to look at the amount of abuse that takes place in order to see that these efforts are not silly."

The Companion Animal Protection Society brought evidence to the City Council last year that suggested an area pet store was selling puppies obtained from Russia and from a puppy mill in Minnesota. After repeated protests by the organization, the store stopped selling the puppies, Davis told the Associated Press. But the incident apparently brought the puppy-mill issue to the forefront of the council's consciousness, culminating in Tuesday's vote.

South Lake Tahoe approved a similar ban on pet-store puppy and kitten sales in 2009.

Do you support West Hollywood's ban on most puppy and kitten sales in pet stores?
Total Votes: 9,254

-- Lindsay Barnett

Animal news on the go: Follow Unleashed on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo: West Hollywood resident Dan Goshin poses with his adopted dog Roger. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

Post a comment
If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate.
Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Comments (42)

I agree with the West Hollywood City Council's wise and compassionate decision to ban the sale of puppy mill and pet factory dogs and cats in our city. The ordinace succeeds on many levels. This is an animal protection measure as well as a consumer protection measure that makes sense when you look at the facts.

It encourages consumers to adopt an animal instead of buying one from an inhumane breeding factory, relieving our municipal shelter system, which is overburdened. We are experiencing a catastrophic recession in our state, with job losses, home forclosures and extreme financial hardship, resulting in a higher intake of homeless animals. Adoption is a way for people to help the community, save a life and acquire a desirable companion animal at the same time.

It encourages retailers to convert to a humane business model here in West Hollywood and throughout the city by example. We are killing too many adoptable animals in our shelter system and 20% of dogs in the shelters here are purebred dogs.

It is not unfairly punitive to retailers at all. We have evidence that the $ in the pet store biz comes from a 15 year relationship with a customer--a customer who comes back for SUPPLIES for the life of the animal. There are many examples in our city that demonstrate that fact, retailers making it through a difficult economy without being involved in the despicable pet factory biz.

This ordinance does NOT touch legitimate and responsible breeders at all, leaving people a choice to seek out a responsible hobby breeder should they decide to not rescue an animal. Fact: legitimate breeders NEVER sell to pet stores and they NEVER sell on-line, shipping animals over state lines. I repeat, this ordinance does not affect responsible breeders who raise their animals with kindness. This ordinance cuts off the abusive commercial operations that keep animals in wire cages for their entire lives. Responsible breeders want to meet you and open their doors to you. They do not hide behind phony websites or keep their animal facility hidden from view, like puppy millers and pet factory owners.

This ordinance sends a strong message to abusive pet factory operators and unscrupulous dog dealers in OTHER states who are flooding our market with sick, injured, malformed dogs whose parents are living in canine supermax prisons.

A fact that pet stores do not want you to know is this: USDA licensed commercial breeding facilities ARE puppy mills. Many USDA licensed breeders breed for the pharmaceutical industry, breeding dogs who will be used for experimentation in laboratories. Dogs are part of agri-business. It is a large industry, requiring factory conditions in order to profit. Dogs are treated very much like animals raised for food. If you stepped into a dog breeding factory, like we do, you'd never forget the cruelty you witnessed.

S. Lake Tahoe is right. West Hollywood is right. This is just the beginning. The public wants a cruelty-free pet, not one born in a puppy mill or a pet factory that is filthy and inhumane. There is a very good reason so many cities have contacted us for help in assisting them create an ordinance for their city that achieves the same goals---Protection for animals and protection for consumers.

This is smart, fiscally responsible, socially responsible and bottom line, the right thing to do.

Carole Davis, w. coast director, Comapnion Animal Protection Society

I am very happy with West Hollywood's decision to ban the sale of dogs and cats in stores. It is unethical to sell animals while at the same time the city shelters have to euthanize thousands of dogs and cats - at the cost of the taxpayer. Adopting from a shelter or a rescue group is the way to go. I'd like to urge people to be responsible citizens and spay and neuter their pets - please don't contribute to the sad and avoidable overflow in our shelters.

I applaud the West Hollywood City Council for unanimously voting for compassion (over cruelty) in the decision to ban the sale of most puppies and kittens in West Hollywood. I hope the rest of Los Angeles will follow suit and that the state of California can then serve as a model for the rest of the country to follow. Bravo Carole Raphael Davis and CAPs for leading the charge against those who perpetuate the grim horrors of puppy and kitty mills.

It's about time we stopped treating living beings like they are inanimate objects to be bought and sold. This is a step in the right direction.

This is so crazy, I imagine I am living in the Gulag Archipelago and not in a modern city in the so called or one-time UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
OH! the horror of breeding for profit!
As if breeding a litter of dogs or cats is a form of whoring below actual prostitution!
Next it will be illegal to charge for sex? or...perhaps it is, I can no longer remember.
Frankly, I am tired of the immorality of having to pay for food, medical care, shelter, income tax, real estate tax, a car, clothing and a phone. I should be given all the pets I want for free, and a vet should not charge to care for them, and their food should also be free.

This sort of law is a symptom of a culture in decline, a culture gone bonkers.
They pay surrogate mothers don't they?

hell yes . they should be banned everywhere. when is everyone going to get it.. these animals live in horrific conditions and suffer everyday.. just so pet stores can make a buck..and where do a lot of these dogs end up.. shelters..

This will truly be a huge victory for our voiceless choiceless,blameless and helpless !!!! I have had personal experiance in seeing the horrors of what the parents of all these cute little puppies,go through.an absolute life of torture,pain,hopelessness,until finally thank-god,their death.it is sickening if you have ever had 1st hand experience in seeing this ...Please dont skip this opportunity to do "the right thing" for our precious animal companions..thank-you for your kindness and compassion.Debbie Trejo

The overpopulation in the country is dramatic. The suffering of the puppies that are peddled for profit is an embarrassment of mankind. This is the last form of legal slavery in the United States of America. We should be ashamed that this practice goes on. The petstores buy puppies for $50.00 and sell them for $1,000.00 and up.
Consumer Beware...if you acutally think these puppies are worth the money you are paying you are mistaken. I know where they buy them and I know how much they pay...I have seen the ordering process. I have seen the filthy trucks they come...no water or food for days...the ones that die are sent back and news ones delivered like defective sweaters. Amazing that human beings could be this cruel for the almighty dollar.
When you buy a puppy you are supporting theives and abusers in the puppy mills. Most people that make a living off of live animals are not the most upstanding people either...if they were they could not peddle flesh...unfortunately people do not do the right thing unless laws are made...some people need to be told something is wrong and we will not permit you to do it...some people are not moral and they need to be told YOU CANNOT ABUSE animals for profit...to bad huh? You would think that they would have the heart and common sense not to but this world is not perfect and I did not create it.
So I am for this law.
Everything good happens in West Hollywood...they are pioneers and the leaders in changing this world for the good.
Kris Kelly

This law was passed without a single letter of opposition, and a record number of support letters. Here in West Hollywood, we get it. If a puppy is in a pet store, it is from a puppy mill. If you buy that dog, you will suffer the indignation of paying too much for a dog that will have tough behavioral problems to overcome, be difficult to impossible, and have health issues that will likely bankrupt you. We passed this law to protect consumers and animals. That's my kind of two-fer!

"No -- determining what stores are allowed to sell is government gone overboard 31% (141 votes)"

Are you kidding? Since when does the government NOT determine what stores are allowed to sell? Seen any 24-hour liquor stores lately? How about, oh, medical marijuana outlets? Guns? Unsafe cribs? Please. Stupid question.

West Hollywood is a community where the politicians actually are responsive to the citizens and it's a safe bet that the majority of W H'wood residents support this action.

A modicum of research into the subject will uncover countless atrocities created by breeders who are always in search of something that will distinguish them and their product from the competition. Meanwhile thousands upon thousands of cats and dogs languish and mostly die in L.A. shelters and many of these are purebreds. I have both a Scottish Fold and a Sphynx that were doomed to death, not to mention my "mutts." Every single day there is at least one very elderly animal dumped in a shelter in Los Angeles because her owners simply cannot be bothered anymore.

Don't breed or buy while so many die! Bravo, West Hollywood!

Please don't let pet stores sell puppies. Any legitimate breeder would never allow their dogs to be sold this way. The puppies in stores come from puppy mills which are horrific breeding facilities. If you are not familiar with how these breeding facilities work, please google "puppy mills" and educate yourself. If you saw how these places operate, you would never want to purchace a puppy and support that type of establishment. They are truly inhumane and disgusting.

Wow, that poll sure looks like it's slanted toward NO. It is really asking two different questions with a loaded NO vote. Asserting that "determining what stores are allowed to sell is government gone overboard" is really misleading! Determining what stores can sell is indeed a normal function of government. You can't sell munitions, you can't sell liquor to minors, and so on. And now you can't sell puppies that were bred in inhumane conditions. Seems look a good thing. You don't need to be an animal lover to appreciate this.

Are you going to post comments, please? Everyone we know is writing them.

Did you know that LA's dogs are making the news here in the Pacific Northwest? Several shelters have been taking in the dogs from Southern California that would otherwise be killed. I hope that the pet owners in Southern California are at least as aware of this problem as those of us who see these sad dogs in our local shelters are...Recent article:http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/02/dogs_saved_from_death_in_calif.html


Please pass legislation that prohibits the sale of cats and dogs in the West Hollywood pet stores. This legislation is long overdue. Thank you in advance for doing this for the animals. Jane

Please pass legislation that prohibits the sale of cats and dogs in the West Hollywood pet stores. This legislation is long overdue. Thank you in advance for doing this for the animals. Jane

Putting a moratorium on breeding for at least one year, would most certainly cut down all the poor wonderful animals that are killed each year. By the way, it wouldn't hurt to do that to people as well.

Finally! I hope more cities ban the selling of dogs and cats! Until people spend time volunteering at animal shelters, they'll remain cluess as to how many are killed daily due to people buying on impulse and people who don't bother to get their pets fixed.

isn't this restraint of trade???
Do we really want a government that will determine what we can do? Thought the idea of a government was to protect us from outside invasions - and to do OUR bidding. We're paying THEM!!!

How come shelters are immune? Aren't THEY selling? AND - - just WHERE do you think they're getting all their pups???

Bravo to West Hollywood for standing up for all the adopatable dogs and cats who are senselessly killed in shelters, while greedy puppymills grind out litter after litter of pups who's mom's are little more than breeding machines. They live hideous, cruel and inhumane lives confined in cages, in filth and feces, never knowing a loving touch, running on the grass, playing with a toy, until they are no longer able to produce...and then it's finally all over. It's time that the public became more aware of the millions of healthy, loving shelter animals who don't stand a chance, simply because an owner gotten over the novelty of having a pet and can no longer be bothered. Adopt a pet and never buy from breeders or pet stores, unless they are rescued animals.

I'm sure the City of West Hollywood had the best of intentions but this law only makes things MUCH worse. If pet lovers can't buy their pets locally they will be at the mercy of smugglers bringing sick and underage puppies into the area. The Federal Government estimates that 10,000 puppies a year are smuggled into Southern California through San Ysidro alone. Cutting legal supplies doesn't cut demand but leads to crime. Prohibition didn't work and only led to organized crime that continues to operate today. Puppy-prohibition won't stop people from wanting pets. But it will harm countless animals as they are smuggled in from even worse sources than the ones the City is trying to combat.

As much as I am against pet shops selling cats and dogs, this was a free country developed on free enterprise and this ban is a relinquishment of a freedom that I cannot support. There are other ways to stop something you don't like. You don't legislate morality and doing it through the government helps build "Nanny Government" but obviously this is the type of people that live in Hollywood (my birthplace). Maybe this mentality is why we see so many people in Hollywood running around with dogs in purses, they have forgotten that these are animals and belong on the four legs God gave them. This is a sad day in America.

Ban Puppy Mills and stop the sales of puppies and kittens in store fronts that are really from massive breeding farms.

We must legislate this for all of Los Angeles. West Hollywood is leading by example and I applaud them for there common sense and humanity in the fight to animal cruelty. Puppy Mills are evil and greedy, treating dogs like livestock and only caring about profit at an animals exspense. Thank god something if finally being done but there is much more to do.

All pet stores should be banned from selling domesticated animals - that would sock it to the vile puppy mills and kitten mills that traffic in animal misery while protecting responsible breeders. Meanwhile, all domesticated animals should have to be neutered by law or owners pay a $500 fine. Provide low-cost neutering and reimburse the owner teh $500 when the animal is neutered.

"Government gone overboard" doesn't apply to the abuse of living beings. Puppy mills are already in violation of the Animal Welfare Act and state animal codes. Please, let's be human for a change, instead of spouting off rhetoric like unfeeling, uncaring androids. It's not socialism and it's not communism. It's human decency. It's a simple way to end the suffering of animals in the name of human greed.

All this is doing is going after all animal owners, yes animal owners. You want to stop puppy mills then go after the USDA who is responsible for cleaning the puppy mills up. Leave the responsible owners alone.

I have a choice and I can either buy from a pet shop or not. Use your choices. Theses activits intend to take all your rights of ownership away

Lergislation does not stop puppy factory farms - which is what they are. Information to the public is what will stop them. It is not the provence of government to tell a merchant what he may or may not sell. Remove the demand and the problem goes away.

Hi Everyone, I felt this poll could be a little too simplistic of an rendition of what is really going on here...

It may behoove us to remember that in many instances (this one in particular), legislation is something inspired by citizens. This recent WeHo CC ban was not something that some crazy government official conjured up in a backroom in attempts to curtail freedom.

This ban was started by individuals - just like you and me, and was debated in front of the city council by individuals and their organizations. The fact that our democratic process calls for the official form of this ban to be a city council ordinance can't obscure that fact. I won't let it erase the real involvement by everyday people who felt called to get together with their city council (also real people) and make positive change in our world.

It is exactly because of the intelligent and intentional use of government intervention (again spawned by real people and made into law by real people) that our children no longer work in sweatshops, why we have things like minimum wages, weekends and civil rights such as the ability to vote regardless of race or gender.

I for one refuse to act like government is something outside of my influence. It is our government, it doesn't belong to some obscure 'they'. It's only when we become complacent and refuse to acknowledge our roles in this system that we start to notice our freedoms dwindle away.

This ban is a huge step forward. I applaud everyone who worked on it and feel confident that even those who were a little skeptical at first will soon benefit from knowing that these cats and dogs (just like their very own, which they presumably care for deeply) are being treated with decency and respect. I can't imagine allowing someone to do to my animals the things these puppy mills were doing. Can you?

I am not a fan of "big government" passing unnecessary, silly laws, or "forced morality". To the previous poster who compared this to selling sex, I would ask you if you are also OK with a company that began breeding children to sell into the sex trade. There is simply no comparison, right? Same thing here. Although prostitution is illegal most places, it can be considered a "victimless crime" in that both participants are willing and able to decide to participate. Laws are necessary to protect those who cannot protect themselves. The same way that our government (and, hopefully our morality if we possess it) would not allow us to breed children to sell into the sex trade, we are also not allowed to hurt others who cannot protect themselves... the elderly, disabled, mentally ill, etc. Animals fall into this category. Domestic animals were bred and selected over thousands of years by humans to be dependent on us. If you dump your pet into the woods and drive away, chances are Fifi or Fido won't last too long unless another human intervenes and takes him/her in. Since animals are so completely dependent on us for every aspect of their survival, they rely on us to protect them. And since there are so many heartless predators in our society who are willing to wreak any atrocity they can dream up in order to turn a buck, we must have laws to protect animals too. This law was not passed to inflict injury on businesses or potential pet owners, but to protect animals and encourage responsible behavior. That's all. Kudos, West Hollywood.

BRAVO WEST HOLLYWOOD, now come on the rest of the country do the right thing and go HUMANE, treat all living beings with compassion, empty out the shelter cages and stop the killing. If you don't buy them they won't supply them, if you don't need them, they won't breed them and finally ADOPT, DON'T SHOP. RESCUE ONLY, HAVE A HEART!

I'm think I'm in love with "Proud Citizen." That person, whoever he or she is, gives me hope that we can all come together to make our city, our state and our country more just for all.

This is a very positive step. Ask those who bought puppies or kittens (or other animals) in pet stores, thinking they came from reputable breeders and then were hit with huge vet bills to treat illness or defects from poor breeding conditions in the new pet they already love as a family member. They will understand this!
As for this being a new thing - legislating what stores can and cannot sell - hogwash! We already do that, in all sorts of cases! We regulate foods for sale, we don't let stores sell unsafe products (at least we try not to) we don't allow bookstores to sell pornography. Just to name a few things off the top of my head.
Reputable breeders do not sell in pet stores.... and if they did, most people who buy from petstores would not buy them, as they would be too expensive for the impulse buyer (who doesn't realize that the cute baby animal they are getting for a "bargain price" is likely to cost them a bundle when it gets sick or needs new hips, or turns out to have a heart condition).
This legislation does not only protect the animals - it is also protection for the unwary buyer.

I have voted "no" as have others and find (as they have) that voting no increases the "yes" count by 2. If there is any value to online polls, they should be accurate and not "rigged" to misrepresent public opinion.

Gee Nancy, can't you just accept that the overwhelming majority of Americans understand that puppy mills are evil, and support West Hollywood's move. I guess if I had no moral, legal or ethical argument to make, I'd complain about the poll calculations too.

Horsein said: "All this is doing is going after all animal owners, yes animal owners. You want to stop puppy mills then go after the USDA who is responsible for cleaning the puppy mills up. Leave the responsible owners alone. I have a choice and I can either buy from a pet shop or not. Use your choices. Theses activits intend to take all your rights of ownership away"

Horsein, no one is "going after animal owners." You are delusional and your statement is preposterous and paranoid. This notion of yours needs to be shouted down. It's simply untrue.

As far as "going after the USDA" to stop puppy mills: that was yet another idiotic statement of yours that defies logic. The USDA licenses commercial breeding operations; they are not in the business of "cleaning them up," as you state. Mills get inspected only every couple of years. They get cited for violations and breeding operations with very serious violations, like freezing temperatures, open wounds, broken bones and worse, are allowed to continue to operate and to continue selling to pet stores. The minimum standards of care to protect animals from abuse under the the Animal Welfare Act were resisted and obstructed by the commercial breeding business. Read about it. If you can read, that is.

Here's the one correct thing you wrote: that you have a choice to buy from a pet shop. Yes you do. You have a right to contribute to animal cruelty and pet overpopulation for now. But the animals suffering in inhumane breeding factories have no choice but to endure the suffering that is afflicted upon them.

No one in their right mind thinks puppy mill sales ought to be legal except for the stonehearted people who profit from them. You're out of touch with the mainstream. America wants a cruelty-free pet and the forward-thinking pet stores are all converting to the humane business model voluntarily now.

Open your eyes, open your heart. Haven't you heard? There is a Rescue Revolution going on!

Again, the misguided animal lovers have spoken! Do not sell puppies at pet stores because they all come from puppy mills! Where are the facts? How many of you animal lovers have ever seen a puppy mill? How many have ever seen ANY animal breeding operation, whether a farm with cattle or poultry or a facility raising puppies? Reality is not Better Homes and Gardens. It is smelly, dirty, and sometimes unpleasant. Lacking a background in animal management will affect one's perceptions, as well as constant exposure to years of propaganda from the animal rights contingent. Oh, don't forget, their idea is that there should be NO PET ANIMALS. Get it. None. Not even at the shelters.
FYI: www.exposeanimalrights.com
No dogs, no cats, no birds, no snakes, no horses, NONE. And, they have also stated that they are going to achieve this goal INCREMENTALLY. Well, by stopping people from acquiring pets from stores, that helps achieve the goal.
Why are animals at the shelters? Some are old, some are sick, and some have serious behavior problems. So you want people to ADOPT them? The excess truly adoptable dogs and cats can very easily be sent to the North East where there is such a need for adoptable pets that these folks are IMPORTING dogs from other countries. Street dogs. Dogs with diseases such as rabies and screwworm. Dogs imported without going thru quarantine and thus provide a serious threat to native wildlife, our domestic animals AND to the public! Now, if there is a need to import dogs in some parts of the US, doesn't it make sense that the excess dogs in the LA area can be transported to those areas? Instead, you want to deny people their right to go to a pet store and purchase a dog. You imagine this is the compassionate solution to puppy mills. Consider that the animal rights folks have managed to present EVERY animal breeding facility as a MILL. Propaganda works. Your responses to this proposal is a good example of the effectiveness of an ongoing campaign against animal breeding, where even the highest level of animal and facility management is still being declared a MILL. Being compassionate about animals and their care is wonderful, but laws should be based on facts and science, not just emotions. Where are the facts that all pet stores acquire their puppies from puppy mills?

How UTTERLY stupid - people send money to these organizations hand over fist, allow them to spread fear, lies and disgust as if it were solid gold, and then seek to control not only the behavior, but the hearts of others because they get a little uncomfortable with a few bad apples that need psychiatric help.


HSUS has a multi-billion dollar budget and yet runs NOT ONE SINGLE shelter in the entire country. They spend their money duping innocent people who love animals into misplacing their common sense and doing stupid things like this instead.

What little good they do in the investigations and informing the public of treatment of animals at slaughter houses and CAFOs is far offset by the lies they perpetrate against individuals.

Sort of like PETA with their refridgerated "rescue" trucks.

Keep this crap in California, please -

Ban the commercial sale and breeding for sale of these precious animals. IT is inhumane to "deal" them like objects - they are living creatures. And, many other "unwanted" cats and dogs are euthanized while the more "attractive" ones are bred and purchased. It is cruel and uncivilized!

California Voter wrote this drivel: "this was a free country developed on free enterprise and this ban is a relinquishment of a freedom that I cannot support. There are other ways to stop something you don't like."

This country wasn't "developed on free enterprise" at all, you nitwit. People died fighting a revolution to create this country. They fought to the death against injustice. And what freedom of yours is being relinquished by this ordinance? Name one. This ordinance protects YOU from being defrauded by unscrupulous retailers.

And please do teach us how to 'stop something you don't like." I'd be curious to know how you know more than all the brave and smart people before you who led the suffragist movement, the civil rights movement, the Gay rights movement and yes, the American revolution. Get your GED will you? Geeez!

its about time !! when we will understand that pets are not toys !! people voting no should go to the animals shelters once in a while !!
thank you west hollywood.. hope we'll be able to do the same for fur , and ban fur coming from china ( mostly dog and cat fur )

No comments: