Thursday, February 11, 2010

West Hollywood Close to Ban on Sale of Dogs and Cats

How much is that puppy in the window? It's not for sale.

Those worried about the number of designer dogs ending up at California shelters will be heartened by the news that the West Hollywood City Council is moving closer to approving a ban on certain kinds of pet sales. According to DVM Newsmagazine, the city council members approved upon "first reading" an ordinance proposed by council member Jeffrey Prang that prohibits the sale of dogs and cats within pet stores. The ordinance must undergo a second reading next week and, if approved, will take effect in March.

The discussion was ignited after an investigation of a West Hollywood pet store, Elite Animals, uncovered evidence that the owner was not only allegedly selling puppy mill dogs, but also illegally importing animals for resale.

The ordinance, which can be downloaded from the West Hollywood City Council agenda is full of troubling facts and statistics related to the sales of dogs and cats. One startling detail: "A review of state and USDA inspection reports from more than 100 breeders who sold animals to the nation's largest retail pet store chain revealed that more than 60 percent of the inspections found serious violations of basic animal care standards, including sick or dead animals in their cages, lack of proper veterinary care, inadequate shelter from weather conditions, and dirty, unkempt cages that were too small."

Carole Davis of the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) told WeHo News that the "Companion Animal Protection Society assisted the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the City of West Hollywood in drafting the ordinance, as well as providing evidence." The ordinance rules that pet stores who currently sell cats and dogs have until Sep. 17, 2010 to "sell, offer for adoption, barter, auction, giveaway or otherwise transfer cats and dogs". The ordinance doesn't affect shelters or rescue organizations that often ask for an adoption fee when finding homes for their animals. It also doesn't affect actual breeders who sell or adopt out their litters on their own.

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