October 24, 2012
Los Angeles lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favor of an ordinance that
will make L.A. the largest city in America to ban pet stores from selling
dogs, cats and rabbits obtained from commercial breeders.
ordinance, which the City Council voted 12-2 to approve, targets puppy mills
and is designed to cut down on the tens of thousands of animals euthanized
each year in city shelters.
Under the law, individuals will still be
allowed to buy directly from breeders, and pet stores will be allowed to
sell animals that come from shelters, humane societies and registered rescue
groups. Stores found to be selling animals from breeders may face
misdemeanor charges and a first-time penalty of $250.
activists hailed L.A.'s approval of the ban as a signal to other large
cities to follow suit. Irvine, Hermosa Beach and West Hollywood are among
the more than 30 cities across the United States and Canada that have passed
similar measures in recent years, according to Elizabeth Oreck, who has been
leading the legislative effort on behalf of Best Friends Animal Society.
L.A.'s ban also sends a message, she said, to breeders who frequently
cut corners to keep costs low at the expense of the animals.
inbred, they're overbred, they're irresponsibly bred," Oreck said.
But pet shop owners complained the ordinance is misguided and unfair.
"It's just making us suffer," said Candice Ro, whose family has been
selling small dogs, including Yorkshire Terriers and English Bulldogs, at
its Koreatown pet shop for 11 years.
Ro said her store, Olympic Pet
Shop, buys nearly all of its dogs from local breeders who take good care of
their animals. "If we were getting puppy mill puppies that were sick we
wouldn't have stayed in business this long," she said.
The ban was
championed by Councilman Paul Koretz, a longtime supporter of animal rights
who said lawmakers have a duty to stick up for animals who "cannot speak for
The measure was opposed by Councilman Mitchell
Englander, who voted against the ban along with Councilman Bill Rosendahl.
Englander said the city doesn't have the resources to enforce the law,
and said it will put L.A. pet stores at a disadvantage. During economically
difficult times like these, he said, government should be focusing on other
"With the limited resources we have, we've got to focus on
the core services," Englander said.
Because Wednesday's vote was not
unanimous, it must come back for a second reading next week.