hamster.jpgA San Francisco city commission held a third hearing Thursday night on a proposal to ban sales of some animals by pet stores in the city.

The San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare has proposed a prohibition on stores selling dogs and cats; smaller creatures like hamsters, rats, mice, guinea pigs and chinchillas; and possibly birds.

The commission is hoping to decrease the amount of animals sent to city animal shelters after overzealous pet purchasers later regret their decisions. Many of the animals later have to be euthanized, commissioners say.

Hearings have already taken place on the inclusion of dogs and cats, and of small animals, in the proposed ordinance.

On Thursday night, the commission heard four hours of testimony on a proposal to extend the ban to also include birds, according to commissioner Philip Gerrie. He said there were speakers on both sides of the issue, including animal rescue advocates and pet store owners.

The commission is still weighing the issue, Gerrie said, and will take it up again at its next meeting on Aug. 12.

If approved, the law would allow an exception for animal shelters and rescue groups to sell the animals. The ordinance would still have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

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  • AntiARFanatics

    This supposed “suggestion” to the SF City Commission is like a batch of hatching fleas–similar “suggestions” have been made to other cities, e.g., Austin and El Paso, TX. Think there isn’t a *network* of AR-crazies? Think again!

    And an *exclusion* for rescues and shelters is discriminatory. Eliminate legitimate animal breeders and sellers, but allow the “competition” from rescues/shelters, including seizures (thefts) under color of law to continue to operate as usual? I don’t think so. Big, hairy lawsuit, anyone? Does SF want to spend the thousands on legal fees? I doubt it!

    When are people going to tell these *true believer* fanatics to GO AWAY and quit trying to *ignore* and *nullify* constitutional protections for HUMANS?

  • Kathy Heaton

    Many pets have been impulse purchases and some do wind up in shelters and rescues… but personal observations lead me to believe the majority become family*, which is another reason I find these proposed “no sale” bans (now also in Austin and El Paso) so distressing.

    *Here’s is an excellent story, representative of that:
    Impulse buy became beloved avian companion
    by Eileen Mitchell

    Also, the proposed exemption that would allow SF animal shelters and rescue groups to sell animals is just another way to make one’s competition illegal to then monopolize a market. So basically this isn’t about animal “welfare” at all…


    Kathy Heaton
    Houston TX

  • Fred

    SF is definitely heading into a huge legal battle. I don’t see residents sitting idly by and allowing their businesses to close based on assumptions that pet store animals are clogging shelters and have caused an increase in euthanasia rates. Where are the facts supporting this claim? Where are the studies? Or is this yet another assumption by Animal Rights groups and AR supporters? Why not discuss animal owner responsibility laws and try enforcing those first?

    Stating Rescues and shelters are better than pets stores is ridiculous. Rescues and shelters unlike Pet Stores have absolutely no regulatory body to ensure appropriate acquisition or placement of animals; including health and temperament issues, appropriate adoption fees and many shelters and rescues are now acquiring animals from out of area to sell to the local population. Shelters and Rescues needs the same level of accountability as Pet Stores, possibly more since many of their animals come with issues that they are not required to disclose to potential adopters. And there are many many cases of rescue animals infected with communicable disease including Rabies.

    The city of SF is literally giving rescues the go-ahead to take over the pet retail sales market with no governing body ensuring their practices are acceptable and are taking away their competition by eliminating breeders and pet stores. Think rescues don’t see the dollar signs, think again…. many a rescue have been caught buying animals to sell, placing aggressive animals or selling their rescues for fees as high or higher than $500.

    Last I checked we lived in a Democracy and had a right to acquire a pet from where ever we were most comfortable. Not living in a Socialist Society where the government dictated to us where we could and couldn’t purchase items or if we could purchase them at all.

  • Wil

    Three comments is an odd influx?

  • BrassSphereMom

    What makes buying at a shelter ok? but not at a store? Shelters often charge MORE THAN A REPUTABLE BREEDER. That’s right, they do.
    So why is ok to buy at a shelter? Please, none of the self-serving garbage about saving a life. 75% of pet dogs in the USA are neutered. Are shelters breeding these poor animals themselves to continue in their jobs? Importation of sick animals is another shelter tactic.
    If any breeder kept, sold or refused to give a health/temperment report on a dog they would immediately become a sub standard breeder subject to closure.
    Why can the shelter get away with this?

  • Sue Mohr

    The main reason for banning sales from petstores is to help decrease/shut down puppy mills, kitten mills, etc. It does not, should not, limit reputable breeders from selling puppies, birds, or whatever. It does help limit impulse buys of that cute little puppy or kitten in the window.

    I do rescue for miniature pinschers. Those who buy puppies from pet stores a) do not always research the breed and so give up the puppies when they are hard to housebreak or too active for the family or the family doesn’t take the time to socialize them with other dogs/people, and b) frequently are NOT healthy puppies and are either actually ill when they are purchased or develop illness that requires euthanasia or the animal itself just dies or has genetic health problems because these animals are bred indiscriminantly with no thought for temperament or genetic health problems of the breed.

    So, I would wholeheartedly vote FOR this ban!

  • DrRosset

    Dear Sue,
    Eliminating Pet stores does not reduce substandard breeding facilities, nor will it reduce shelter intakes. As for stopping impulse buying one can do that be requiring families to wait twenty four hours before actually purchasing the pet. They could be asked for a deposit and be given information about the care, feeding and training of the new pet. In this way you actually educate people and reduce the impulse buying. You also don’t infringe upon people’s rights nor shut down legitimate businesses. But you said this was your main reason and so there must be other reasons and we can see that it will cut out any choice for the future pet owner. So the only choice left will be rescued animals which is what the animal rights coterie want.
    As for shelter animals being used to replace the pet market there you have a 47% failure rate and no support for the newly adopted animal which often has issues far beyond what most people can deal with or afford. I am so tired of telling the new adopter families that their rescued dog or cat will need extensive and expensive medications or surgery and may or may not live through it. Shelter animals carry hundreds of zoonotic diseases that they can and do spread into a family or community. Everything from parasites that can cause blindness to rabies. The unlucky family who takes in a rescue that has not been properly tested and assessed can risk the lives of their children and pets already in the home. 47% of all adopted rescues will be returned due to the inability of the family and the rescuers to change the animal’s behavior or health.
    The purpose of the shelters in the first place was to protect the public’s health from the zoonotic diseases, but then the sentimental decided to use them to protect the animals when in fact they shouldn’t be doing so unless they have the money to care for those animals. Zoonotic diseases are those diseases shared by animals and humans. Approximately 150 zoonotic diseases are known to exist. Cities have a duty to protect the public by preventing such animals from running loose in the population spreading disease. The cities do not have a duty to take those very animals and sell these disease spreaders back to the citizens under the guise of animal rescue. When I see a well bred dog walk into my clinic I know the family is safe, How, because the responsible breeder keeps their animals vaccinated, quarantined and the premises free of contamination. When I see a rescued shelter dog walk into my clinic I know that half of the time the animal will carry more diseases than this family knows. I know that this family cannot afford all the tests to ensure this puppy doesn’t have one of the 150 diseases that can kill a human being. It is a gamble with the life of the family. I remember well the family with the toddler who was being licked in the face by its new puppy only to have to tell them the child needed shots and the puppy had to be put down. I advise all my clients that if they have anyone in their family who is younger that 8 or has some immune system issue to not adopt a rescue animal no matter what the rescuer says. I have seen even the most well run rescues with parasites that no one can deal with in this country which tells me the animal came in from India or China. Many small dogs from Puerto Rico carry in the bot fly which is an insect that eats its host from the inside. Check your rescue for bumps as this parasite can be transferred from the pet to the owner. I find it morally reprehensible that these groups put these diseased animals before the health of another human being. Studies are rife with instances in which children have lost their health, an eye or suffered from these diseases carried by sheltered animals from bites that kill to diseases that invade their bodies. Emotion and our empathy for cute puppies and kittens has far out weighed our common sense with regard to the purpose of shelters and the purpose of the government to protect human beings from diseases that these animals will and do have at a much higher rate than should be allowed. Would you purposely expose yourself to rabies 50% of the time?