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San Francisco Revives Pet Sales Ban Discussion

The Commission of Animal Control & Welfare in San Francisco is hearing a proposal to ban the sale of pets at stores in the city.

By The SmallAnimalChannel News Division
Posted: June 8, 2011, 9:40 p.m. EDT

© Gina Cioli/BowTie
Hamsters and other pets could be banned from being sold at pet stores in San Francisco in the future.

San Francisco’s Commission of Animal Control & Welfare is once again scheduled to hear a proposal to ban the sale of pets at city pet stores after postponing a vote on the controversial issue for several months.

At its June 9, 2011, meeting, the commission is scheduled to consider a ban that seeks to prohibit the retail sale of dogs, cats, birds, small animals (including but not limited to hamsters, gerbils, rats, miceguinea pigs and chinchillas), reptilesamphibians and aquarium fish.

Specifically, the ordinance would state that, in San Francisco, people can acquire pets of all species through the following methods: 1.) Pet store adoptions events; 2.) Pet store permanent adoption centers/partnerships; 3.) Direct sale from small breeders; 4.) Adoption from shelters such as Animal Care and Control and the SF/SPCA; 5.) Adoption from animal rescue organizations. Methods that fall outside of those listed above, such as non-adoption sales through pet stores, would not be permitted.

The aim, according to the commission’s agenda, is to increase shelter adoptions and decrease euthanasia rates. Plus, the commission contends, adoption or buying an animal from a local breeder are better choices than purchasing an animal, because pets bred for sale suffer “on a massive scale.”

“The ordinance is not a prohibition of owning pets but is an endorsement of the benefits to animals (and consumers) of adoption from shelters and rescues versus purchases from stores,” the commission writes in its agenda.

If the commission votes in favor of the ban, the proposal would then go to the board of supervisors for approval.

The proposal to ban sales of pets at pet stores sparked much debate when it was introduced about a year ago. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) testified against the ban, arguing that limiting the availability of pets to the public will not solve the shelter issue. PIJAC noted that the issue had already been addressed with a commitment by pet retailers to re-home adoptable animals from shelters.

Now that the ban is back on the agenda, PIJAC is calling on the public to continue to speak out against the proposal.

“Pet stores provide healthy, responsibly raised pets to the public and should serve as one of the options pet owners may turn to in choosing a companion animal,” PIJAC stated in an industry alert released today.

The Commission of Animal Control & Welfare is set to hear the proposal on June 9, 5:30 p.m., at city hall. To view the agenda and the proposal, visit its website

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