San Francisco could soon add itself to the list of cities that prohibit the sale of dogs and cats that are not from animal rescue organizations.
The proposed legislation, sponsored by Supervisor Katy Tang, would amend the health code to prohibit pet stores in The City to sell non-rescued dogs and cats, and prohibit the sale of dogs and cats under eight weeks old.
Last Wednesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Public Safety and Neighborhood Services heard testimony from the Humane Society of the United States and from the San Francisco SPCA, who all support the proposed legislation.
Tang’s proposed legislation states that there are a number of pet stores across the U.S. that receive puppies and kittens from large-scaled breeding facilities called puppy or kitten mills, where the facilities do not provide adequate care for the animals.
Amy Jesse, the policy director of the Humane Society, said the organization goes after puppy mills at every possible way:
“Of all the avenues we pursue, supporting legislation that cuts off puppy mills supply chains is the most effective.”
Jesse said that federal and state regulations have not stopped mills from supplying dogs and cats to pet stores despite her organizations efforts. She said local ordinances like the one Tang is proposing help cut off the mills from supplying the pet stores unhealthy pets:
“Since pet stores are a key to puppy mills, ordinances from local cities are making sure that puppy mills will no longer have a place to sell.”
Jesse said puppies or kittens from mills that end up in pet stores could be sick. Customers who buy the puppy could be aware of the sickness because some pet stores may lie about the condition of puppy.
The organization estimates that the U.S. has more than 10,000 puppy mills producing 2,400,000 puppies a year.
Ashley Summers, a legislative aide to Tang, said that legislation would not affect responsible breeders.
Summers added that most pet stores in The City already have partnerships with animal rescue organizations and that The City is already ahead of the curve because there are no known pet stores that sell non-rescued dogs and cats:
“However, this legislation is really important because it will prevent any stores like this from opening in the future.”
Liz Evans with the SPCA said the proposed legislation would send a message to those who want to establish a pet store in the future that The City will not tolerate pet stores to sell dogs and cats from mills:
“It will send a powerful message to any future pet stores that here in San Francisco, we simply cannot condone what we believe is an outdated and socially unacceptable business model.”
Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Sandra Lee Fewer, who sit on the public health and safety committee, approved to move the proposed legislation forward with a positive recommendation.
The full San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote on the proposed legislation on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, Tang will host an event with the San Francisco Animal Care Control and SPCA of adoptable dogs at City Hall in room 264 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.