City officials in Los Angeles will consider a proposed ordinance that would put a three-year ban on the sale of commercially bred dogs, cat and rabbits in pet stores this month. The main goal of the ordinance is to help with overcrowding in L.A. animal shelters and reduce the number of animals that those shelters have to euthanize.
Shelters in Lost Angeles took in more than 57,000 animals last year. Of the 35,405 dogs they took in 25 percent were euthanized. There isn’t an adoption deadline at city shelters, but limited space makes it difficult for animals to stay at the shelters long. Some animals are lucky to be at the shelter 30 days before they are put down.
Los Angeles wouldn’t be the first city to ban the sale of commercially bred pets, but a ban in Los Angeles could have a significant impact. “Because of the population of Los Angeles, and because of the important role Los Angeles plays culturally on the national stage, a ban would have reverberations nationally,” said Nick Nassuet, a special investigator for Last Chance for Animals based in Los Angeles.
Paul Koretz is the City Councilman behind the proposed ordinance and his ultimate goal is for the city of Los Angeles to have no-kill shelters. “That’s going to take a tremendous amount of work and many steps. This is just one step in that direction,” Koretz said. The ordinance would permit businesses to sell dogs, cats or rabbits but only if they are from an animal shelter or a nonprofit humane organization that is registered with the city’s Department of Animal Services.
Some pet industry representatives believe the ban will only hurt those who are already responsible pet stores. “Anybody that would engage in substandard breeding already doesn’t follow the rules,” said Michael Canning, president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council based in Washington D.C. Canning fears the ban will cause people to resort to the internet or other unregulated venues to sell puppies. Canning also is concerned that there is no evidence that those who want a purebred pet will go to an animal shelter if they can’t get one from a pet store.
However, Shannon von Roemer, owner of a dog boutique in Los Angeles doesn’t see how humane breeders will be affected. “This isn’t about going to a reputable breeder and getting the dog of your choice, this is about trying to stop people who just want a pet from going to a pet shop and creating the demand for puppy mills, “ von Roemer said. “If people want a certain dog and really make the conscious effort of finding a reputable breeder, they deserve getting that dog. If it’s not about a particular breed and just about getting a cute puppy, there’s no reason not to adopt a rescue.” Councilman Koretz agrees that most people who shop at a pet store are looking for a cute dog, not trying to find a perfect purebred animal.
Koretz is confident that the ordinance will pass and it will lead to more adoptions at Los Angeles city shelters. If so Los Angeles example could lead to many other cities doing the same.