San Francisco Considers Ban On Almost All Pet Sales

A few months ago, in an effort to not contribute to the puppy mills and kitty factories of the world, San Francisco began mulling over the possibility of forbidden canine and feline sales within city limits. But, as happens when the discussion turns to the critters of the world, that ban has now grown to include just about everything you would ever want to even consider having as a pet.

While some towns, like West Hollywood, Austin and El Paso, have recently passed similar restrictions on cat and dog sales, no municipality has come anywhere near the depth and breadth of San Francisco’s proposed ban.

In additon to cats and dogs, other animals under consideration for the ban include birds because of “their sensitivity and inappropriateness as pets,” hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas and guinea pigs. The city already has a ban in place on the sale of rabbits.

While there is only one pet store in the city that sells cats and dogs, there are several more that sell birds, mice, hamsters and the like. Suffice it to say they are displeased with the proposal.

Explains one store owner:

If I don’t have a bird to sell, I don’t sell a cage. I don’t sell bird toys. I don’t sell seed. But it’s about freedom of choice. If someone wants a bird, they’ll go to Berkeley. This will solve none of the problems the commission sees.

Oddly enough, those opposing the ban have an unlikely ally in the president of the Humane Society, who says that such a broad-spectrum ban only hurts the original goal of the ban: “I think you attract a set of additional opponents that sink an otherwise achievable goal.”

Fur and feathers fly as San Francisco weighs ban on pet sales [L.A. Times]

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  1. Alvis says:

    Animals are legally property, right, or am I missing something?

  2. Yankees368 says:

    uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…what?

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Why can’t they just ban sales of “puppy mill” animals. This is not difficult to achieve. Require accurate and substantiated birth/heritage certificates for the animal, and prosecute puppy mill locations by making the sale of those animals illegal.

    • Supes says:

      I dunno… many pet stores have “papers” or “documentation for the dogs they sell. They can show that breeders are USDA registered or the dog is AKC registered.

      None of this is really a good indicator of the conditions the dog came from. Regulation needs to come from the source (states where the puppy mills exist). It’s impossible to know for sure when the dog actually reaches the pet store.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        True. But it can be determined later than the animal in inbred. This would be grounds to prosecute the seller of the animal and the store that resold it.

        And it’s pretty obvious that your animal in inbred once you start getting certain medical conditions. That could spark a DNA test and a lawsuit.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      While it’s accepted that all puppy mills are horrible places, individual breeders aren’t necessarily an indication of good origins, either. Not to mention, you also have the irresponsible pet owners who don’t neuter and spay their pets and then months later, you have a bunch of kittens being sold out of a cardboard box.

    • WagTheDog says:

      Puppy mills frequently fake the documentation. Nearly all puppy mill dogs are AKC registered.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        No need to fake AKC papers. If your breeding pair (the mommy and daddy) are AKC registered dogs, then the puppies are AKC puppies, period. AKC registration says NOTHING about the breeder, it’s facilities, or how the animals are cared for. It’s just a guarantee of pedigree – nothing else. There’s no reason to think that puppy mills aren’t turning out 100% legitimate AKC dogs.

        • WagTheDog says:

          The reason to think that is the number of puppy mill owners who have had their AKC privileges revoked due to poor recordkeeping. Say, for instance, dog A is declared as the sire, but it was actually dog B, or whatever dog happened to be in the yard. That constitutes falsified records. And, that is why the AKC does unannounced site visits. Actions taken by the AKC are published in the Chronicle and make for fascinating reading. Granted, they should do more site visits, and given the amount of money I alone give them in entry fees, they could probably afford it. But it would undoubtedly reduce their intake in registration fees.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            My point is that it’s not that hard to have a couple AKC breeding pairs and breed them, and create proper AKC docs. No need to lie about the pedigree of the puppies…worst-case scenario is you have to buy a legitimate pair of AKC dogs to breed with.

            Random site visits are great – but there’s no hope in hell that the AKC themselves is going to do much about the puppy mill problem.

            • WagTheDog says:

              You can’t use a male several hundred times a year without decreased fertility. So, you substitute a male and falsify the docs. Or, you claim a pup is out of a better bred female that it really is and charge more. You are correct, it isn’t hard to use AKC registered dogs (and in fact they do), but think about the money and you will see why records get falsified.

    • ellemdee says:

      It’s a lot more difficult than it should be. Most pet stores – even the fru-fru expensive ones in pricey neighborhoods – get their dogs from puppy mills, but they just call them “out of state breeders”. Puppy mills operate under cruel and illegal conditions for years, even with multiple violations and citations. It’s often cheaper to just keep paying fines and allow the animals to suffer than to fix problems. There is never enough manpower to properly inspect the breeders, many of whom avoid detection of their existance alltogether by operating in rural areas where neighbors’ complaints aren’t an issue. Horrible, cruel, greedy practice.

  4. dolemite says:

    Wouldn’t it be smarter to regulate the industry better, by having them track/certify where their pets are coming from? All this is going to do is close down legit companies that played by the rules, and force people to get pets from the “black market” which probably caters to puppy mills/etc.

    • darklighter says:

      While regulating the industry is certainly the better option, the city of San Francisco can’t. Its power stops at the city limits.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Puppy mills aren’t relegated to the “black market” – and I honestly don’t think that many people are sneaking around in back alleys trying to find illicit puppy dealers to save a buck on Barky.

      A puppy mill can be producing AKC-registered dogs. All you need for AKC is pedigree…it says nothing at all about the conditions of the breeder’s facilities, or how the animals are treated.

      The problem is that retailers will happily purchase from such puppy mills because all the retailer wants is AKC dogs…because that’s all the consumer wants. Retailers aren’t going to take it upon themselves to inspect the facilities of the breeders they do business with – all the retailer is going to do is say “well, I can get AKC labs from this guy for $300 a puppy, or I can get AKC labs from this other guy for $100 a puppy…$100 a puppy it is.”

      • mobiuschic42 says:

        Also, the guy selling them for $300 probably won’t be cool with them keeping the poor babies in a little cage in a store in the mall.

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    This makes me wonder what extremists are on this particular council.

  6. MercuryPDX says:

    If you already have a pet that requires “feeder animals” (eg. goldfish, mice, crickets) where does that leave you?

    • Noadi says:

      Apparently it leaves you starving your pet to death or going outside the city to get it’s food. I actually thought of the same thing when I saw mice banned. This is pretty ridiculous. There are better ways to deal with the problem of puppy mills than this.

      Why is buying rabbits already banned?

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        The sale of rabbits has been banned for nearly 30 years, so it’s not something brand new that was just enacted.

      • Fidget says:

        Anyone who would let their pet starve to death, or just “release it into the wild” when it becomes difficult to negotiate caring for the pet should NEVER NEVER NEVER have an animal. If you can’t find a shelter to take it, or make other suitable arrangements, that’s not the fault of the pet store that decided to stop selling you mistreated feeder animals.
        Really, people are so damned entitled to having a pet that they can just give up when it gets difficult…Christ, if you wouldn’t let your kid starve to death or release it into the wild, you shouldn’t do it to your pet. (Granted, if you’re in some post apocalyptic nightmare, then sure, feed the dog to your kid (because someone will say that comparing kids to dogs is apples to oranges, which it is), but it’s really never an either-or scenario: either you can care for both, or don’t have both.)

        • JennyCupcakes misses her grandson says:

          This.

          My best friend and I have a debate all the time about people leaving their pets in the wild when they can’t take care of them. On what planet can a pet that’s been living in a house and depending on people for sustenance actually survive in the wild? I know I couldn’t, I’d probably eat the wrong type of berry and die in a ditch somewhere (and my cats can eat me… ahh the circle of life).

    • Fidget says:

      That leaves you buying pinkies and other frozen feeder animals or breeding your own. Ideally, wherever you got the reptile will be willing to help you find a source for the appropriate feeder animal (assuming they care about the reptiles they’ve placed). Those animals shouldn’t be sold in pet stores; they can’t be properly cared for, and they end up going home with small children who hug them to death or actively abuse them. Also, check out the lifespan and health on feeder animals coming from pet stores vs those being bred for the purpose; I don’t have reptiles, but I wouldn’t feed mine out of the trough-o’-mouse in most pet stores.

  7. Supes says:

    I’d get behind this if they limited it to banning pet store sales of dogs (and maybe cats). Too many puppy mill dogs out there sold to unwitting consumers when there’s plenty of great dogs available at shelters or from great local breeders.

    • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

      I totally agree, I’d like to see them ban all cat/dog sales from pet stores until some of the shelters start to empty out. The good thing about adopting is that they tend to screen potential owners to make sure they’re not the impulsive type who buy a puppy on a whim they toss it aside when it becomes a burden.

      • FigNinja says:

        The SF shelter, and many others in California, won’t adopt animals out without speutering them first. too. Of course, people who want to go to a breeder will still do it. This will mostly keep people from impulse-buying animals. Plus there is a lot of concern about how animals are housed in the stores themselves.

        It’s not that you won’t be able to get a dog or cat at a pet store. Many of the pet stores around here now have adoption fairs rather than selling dogs and cats. The shelters and rescue groups, as you say, can check out potential pet owners in a way the stores can’t. Plus the pets are only at the store for the day. Then they go back to the shelters or foster homes.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          the rescue organization i am with has the cats in the luv a pet adoption centers at petsmart for a week at a time. but they are in a play center with sleeping cubbies and hidey holes that are all connected, not small cages. and volunteers clean out the litter boxes, feed and water them every day.
          it helps a lot with the adoptions because sometimes people come to see the same cat a few times in a week before deciding to adopt. the cats rotate out of there to their foster homes with weekend adoption events so they don’t live there for weeks on end.
          if they don’t get socialized in foster homes they don’t stay adoptable

      • Fidget says:

        Yup. I’m in the process now and they’ve called my two references and landlord, we’ll be having a personal interview with the woman who runs the shelter, and then we’ll be auditioning/auditioning by the cats and their current foster families.
        Honestly though, small animals are even less suited to pet stores than large ones; the only reason everyone isn’t up in arms about the rabbits and guinneas being sold there is that those animals don’t stay sick long, they just die. I’ve seen fucking teenagers just come into a PetSmart and drop the hamsters on the floor and fucking laugh; your kid has no inherent right to a pet, to own and potentially kill another living thing for the hell of it. A responsible breeder (and there are responsible breeders of small animals) will not allow a kid to be the primary caregiver of an animal, will place conditions on the adoption and will give you a healthier, happier pet that is better suited to living with you.
        Birds are their own problem, and one that I’m not particularly well-equipped to discuss.

  8. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I say ban the mills and have standards for breeders with regard to inbreeding, but otherwise it is overkill to ban all sales of pets. If people want to breed and sell so others can buy a designer Labrischnauzpugoodle then let them.

    My pets are rescue animals, but I don’t think everyone has to get a rescue animal. It should be a choice.

  9. Mike says:

    Oh man. I know these people had good intentions, but this is out of control. How long before I hear those blow hards on Fox news using this as an example of how all liberals are crazy?

    • will_o_wisp says:

      Less than 24 hours. I totally agree with you, and I’m a liberal.

    • Polish Engineer says:

      Way to jinx it man….

      Headline Tonight: Liberals target small businesses by banning cute puppies.

    • Venus Blue says:

      That O’Reilly guy was already talking about this a few weeks ago. (My mother lives with me and she watches that show religiously, sadly.)

    • Kavatar says:

      From the full article:

      Even Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly has joined the fray. San Franciscans, he blustered recently, are “kooks!” “Insane!” The proposal is “fascistic!” “You’re basically taking away people’s freedoms for this kind of far-left vision of Nirvana!”

      • pot_roast says:

        Well, he’s right. This isn’t the first time that San Francisco has decided “Let’s ban something today!” It really is a strange city. For a good example of how ridiculous it is, take a look at this:
        http://www.dnalounge.com/backstage/permits.html

        There’s also the attempt at a gun ban, banning plastic bottles, plastic bags, etc…. yet the city still has a rising crime rate, drug problems, and homeless people.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      You mean kind of like how MSNBC and CNN portray tea partiers as racists?

      What ever happened to turnabout being fair play?

      For the record, I disagree with all of this broad-brush BS demagoguery. It eliminates any possibility of a real discussion of the issues, and it needs to stop.

  10. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Why not just go the full PETA route and put down all “pets”, since owning a pet is abusing it.

    • Velifer says:

      HSUS is the PeTA route.

    • qualia says:

      Because that’s not what they’re arguing at all? It’s not just about animal cruelty. If they ARE property, as you said, maybe the people selling it to you have some obligation not to sell you a product made in such a way that it’s guaranteed most of them are broken, and there’s no way of knowing who is selling a good product or a bad one.

      Plus, you know, most people don’t like breeding animals who will die horrible deaths because they’re not goddamn idiots.

  11. pantheonoutcast says:

    Ah, California. 3 million illegal immigrants, and they want to ban guinea pigs.

    You know, I’ve bashed the Midwest many times for many things, but I really think it’s the coastal cousins that just don’t have a clue. Here in NY, the government’s solution to everything is taxation, and in CA it’s bans and endless regulations. I’m going to end up living in Montana with a three-foot long beard and a rifle.

    • Angus99 says:

      Bring extra socks!

    • augiet65 says:

      I think if you live in Montana you may be required to own more than one gun, or you might want to have more than one gun to fit in. (Sarcasm)

    • misterfweem says:

      Alread there, mate. Keep off my lawn.

    • wednesdayaddams says:

      Minus weather extremes, it is sure a lot easier for pets/pet owners here in ND. People love the sh*t outta our pets up here. Our hunting industry would take a huge hit if they tried to pass crazy stuff like that. Pet owners here also take very well care of their pets, most people talk about them like children. The shelter’s are not ghaslty over run either and about half of the puppies in the stores are “oops” puppy’s and the other’s are often bred properly or they get investigated and/or shut down.
      I believe children need to grow up with the companionship, responsability, love, discipline and life lessons that only a pet can give you. Instead of pluggin into a computer, game-system, or tv, they have a tangible play companion with no pre-set sequence pattern and a unlimited play options and a variable of outcomes!!!!

    • katsuyakaiba says:

      Ahhh Montana…where we’re trying to teach Kindergardeners sex ed and teach 10 year olds about anal sex.

      I can’t make this crap up, this was a proposal for sex ed up in Helena.

    • smo0 says:

      A few of my friends moved to Montana to “get away.” I also work with people who have summer homes up there…. I think you all may be on to something… hmm

  12. Narmical says:

    This is the one thing were the free market fails me.

    I went to the shelter to adopt a kitten. it was only 25 bucks.
    I got an awesome cat, a host of veterinary services (spay or neuter, rabies vaccine, de-worming, microchip etc).

    Go to the pet store and you can easily spend 1000+ dollars on all of that. What sense does it make?

    Therefore i agree with the sentiment of the bill. However, the law is not going to stop anything. There is a ban on drugs, does that stop anyone from finding a seller?

    • dolemite says:

      I honestly feel bad for the animals in the pet stores. They are simply ludicrously priced. I might see one that I like but say “sorry buddy, I can’t swing $800…I hope you find a nice home.” I guess the only benefit is you know that they are going to a home with some $ at least.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      Psst! Hey kid, wanna buy a cat? 100% pure, I assure you.

    • ellemdee says:

      People like to think they’re getting high-end brand spankin’ new dog from a pet shop and not a preowned “used” model with a few miles on it from the pound. They think more expensive = better dog and they want to be able to brag about it.

  13. Velifer says:

    From the article: “Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States.”

    HSUS IS NOT THE HUMANE SOCIETY. It’s an extremist organization like PeTA. They have no ties to local animal shelters. Money you give them does not help pets find homes, it helps HSUS with their political machinations to stop pets from existing at all.

    • kingofmars says:

      Good point, I did not know the difference, and it seems like an important one. The humane society sounds like what many people wish PETA was like, ie I still like eating meat, but I want it to have humane conditions before and when it is slaughtered.

  14. SkokieGuy says:

    What about a pet store that wants to sell only rescue animals?

    What about Petsmart or other stores holding adoption days?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      You answered your own question. Adopting is not the same as buying.

      • hotdogsunrise says:

        Exactly. Also, the stores that have these events are usually letting the rescue organization come onto their property to do this. It’s not the pet store, per se, adopting out pets. It’s the rescue organization using the store as a good way to attract interested adopters.

        • Blueberry Scone says:

          This. And, of course, PetSmart gets the feel-good vibe of providing a place for the shelter, and they get money from the people who wind up adopting a cat – they need to buy food, kitty litter, etc.

  15. Murph1908 says:

    If you outlaw pets, only outlaws will have pets. =)

    Soon, pet stores will be opening up outside the city limits of San Fran, just like liquor stores ring Indiana like an intoxicating rainbow due to the blue law banning alcohol sales in the Hoosier state on Sundays.

    I mean c’mon. This will NOT solve the problem of mills. It’s just additional useless legislation, of which California already has a surplus.

  16. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    If I can’t legally buy my pet rock, I’m just going to have to catch my own.
    How to tell the difference…

  17. UnicornMaster says:

    Cats and Dogs I can understand. There are way to many and people who buy pure breeds are idiots (gross generalization :). But other animals including birds and hamsters? Do you have to trap your own finch on the roof of your apartment? What’s next? Catch your own goldfish out of the bay?

  18. kathygnome says:

    This came about because when they were considering the ban on selling puppies from puppy mills, they became aware that the #1 animal euthanized in the local shelters were not cats or dogs, but hamsters.

    A lot of people buy small pets thinking they are disposable and then dump them on the shelters. This is particular a problem with hamsters because of all the small pets, they’re probably the most popular with children, but the worst possible choice one could make. They may be cute, but they’re extremely temperamental, given to deeply sleeping unless it is dark in the room, then biting if woken. The city already has a ban on selling house rabbits and chicks in pet shops because of the hordes of them purchased for Easter and then dumped.

    • Hoot says:

      I didn’t know those were the reasons. So sad.

      I adopted two black dogs from the pound and they told me that black pets were the least adopted and most euthanized. That made me sad too. :(

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        yes, we have a terrible time adopting black cats out of the organization i’m with. but we don’t adopt them out in october because there’s also a problem with people getting black cats to abuse for hallowe’en

        • JennyCupcakes misses her grandson says:

          This is awful. I absolutely LOVE black cats (I have a 17 lb “baby”). The majority of all black cats I’ve encountered have been the sweetest little things that anyone could meet. Bunch of racists!

    • Laura Northrup says:

      Yep. As Consumerist’s staff crazy hamster lady, I’m often telling people that they’re wonderful animals but not good pets for the majority of children.

  19. Tim says:

    Wait, what about adopting? Would that be legal?

    If so, how does one define adopting?

    • Supes says:

      Don’t know this for sure, but I’d presume there’s an exception for shelters/rescue operations, and for any individual breeders. The wording in the article seems to imply this would only affect actual “pet stores.”

  20. balthisar says:

    Well, presumably people already have their pet snakes that aren’t banned. So, a pet shop owner could sell cats, mice, hamsters, etc., as live feed products for people that have pet snakes, wink-wink, nudge-nudge. It won’t be the shop keepers’ problem if people choose to keep them as pets instead of use them as pet food.

  21. rahntwo says:

    Yeah, it’s time for a resurgence of the Pet Rock, Chia Pet and Furby!

  22. mobiuschic42 says:

    I adopted my chinchilla and I love him!
    That being said, given the fragility and longevity of many rodents, the demand for them might far outstrip the number of adoptable animals.
    Also, think about this: many shelters have to turn animals away because they don’t have enough room for all the animals. If the only source of pets is shelters, is the city going to pay to expand them?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      many shelters have to turn animals away because they don’t have enough room for all the animals. If the only source of pets is shelters, is the city going to pay to expand them?

      I don’t understand what you’re saying – if the city bans pet sales, people will have to rely on shelters to get pets OR go out of the city. Presumably, if fewer people leave San Francisco to buy a pet from a store, they will instead go to a shelter. This, theoretically, means more animals are being adopted. There would not be an increase in animals being taken to the shelter because the stores are no longer allowed to supply random people with pets, all willy nilly. Shelters have adoption procedures in place to make sure pets go to responsible people who won’t presumably just dump their pet at another shelter.

      People who abandon their animals make me angry.

      • Pastry Minion says:

        Actually, this policy *could* increase shelter populations.

        You’re not factoring in the various types of idiots who end up dumping pets at shelters in the first place. Like the people who want a dog with papers and decide they want a specific breed without doing any sort of research about whether said breed is suitable to their lifestyle, and/or the people who any shelter in their right mind wouldn’t adopt to because they can’t pass the basic screening process.

        Neither of those types are going to a shelter- they will leave town to buy a pet, and will then dump it on the shelter when they get bored, realize their new dog is bad with their kids or has expensive health problems, etc. Or they’ll just dump it on the street and hopefully someone will bring it to the shelter eventually.

        I don’t know what kind of hoops you have to go through in SF, but my current cat is a rescue from PetSmart, and the adoption process was lengthy- two weeks from beginning to end, including two home visits and reference checks. If I wasn’t firmly committed to adopting a rescue and didn’t know better, I might have been tempted to say “screw this” and go to a pet store.

        As to our cat, even though she was “free” with a $85 donation, I doubt a pet store cat would have been cheaper. My guess is that my well-trained, friendly, very adorable cat got dumped on the street because her last owner didn’t want to pay the vet bills for her hip problems, which are manageable with routine care. Not cheap, but worth it to us, we really like her and she’s a part of the family.

        I don’t think this policy is the worst idea ever, but I do think someone needs to consider the impact on shelter funding and population if they’re going to run with it.

        • Tim says:

          How would this increase shelter populations?

          If someone wants a pet, they’ll either go to the shelter (reducing the shelter population) or go out of town to a pet store (making no change to the shelter population). Sure, people might take their pets to the shelter if they don’t want them. But people do that now, and people will continue to do it no matter where they get their pets.

      • grapedog says:

        Don’t ever live in Texas… you’ll want to shoot people… a lot.

  23. Skyhawk says:

    Possibly the only idea to come out of San Francisco I agree with.

    There are plenty of cats and dogs available from shelters and it’s cruel to clip a birds wings and keep it captive.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      I have to agree with you on the point about the birds – never understood them as pets.

      “Come see my beautiful, colorful pet that we crippled so that we could keep it in a wire cage for its entire life!”

      • kingofmars says:

        Clipping a birds wings does not cripple it. Also, birds are sometimes kept in a cage because they haven’t been clipped, and will fly over to the owner instead of staying on the stand. Finally, a bird can do more than look pretty. I’ve seen birds dance, solve toddler level puzzles, and show affection.

      • jenjenjen says:

        As opposed to come see my beautiful carnivorous cat that I’m going to force to eat little pellets for the rest of its life and punish whenever it hunts. Or my beautiful pack animal dog that I’m going to force to live in an apartment by itself while I go to work. Pet ownership is problematic at some level, yet there’s something wonderful about the relationship you can have that makes it palatable. Birds in the parrot family can make amazing pets – the problem there is that they live so long, you’re basically making a lifetime commitment when you get one.

      • Sparkstalker says:

        I never understood birds as pets until we had a parrot rescue group come out to the nursing home I work at. They were simply amazing and a lot of fun. Not something I’d want as a pet, per se, but I understand the appeal now….

    • kingofmars says:

      I think you missunderstand what it means to clip a birds wings. Clipping a bird’s wings is no worse than you or me getting a hair cut. The vet just takes the flight feathers and trims them so they are a little shorter. It takes a couple of month for the feathers to grow out again. The bird is still able to steer and stop if they fall, but aren’t able to gain any lift.

    • Bonster says:

      True – a good clip is painless, allows the bird to coast and steer if they fall from a higher surface, and keep them away from ceiling fans. You just have to know how to do it right or go to an avian vet to do it for you. I’ve had birds for many years. They have a large cage, a spot by the window so they can argue with the birds outside, and plenty of things to play with and destroy. For them, the cage is a safe spot, and they rarely go far.

      I had a bird escape during moving day during the dead of winter. Fortunately, my parents lived in the area and could check back after we failed to find him, so I left one of their play cages outside. The next day my mother found a blue puffball clinging to the bars. He lived another eight years, so a very cold night didn’t seem to do him much harm.

      I hate how people buy pets on impulse, which may be one of the issues addressed in the proposal. The average parakeet lifespan is 1-2 years. They can live up to 16. Typical cages are far too small for an active bird. My two parakeets share a small parrot cage designed for conures and amazons, and they make use of every inch. Cheap parakeet seed is almost entirely millet, which is like candy – they like it best but it doesn’t meet their nutritional needs. They need a variety of grains, protein sources like egg meal, fruits and vegetables, and variety in order to be healthy. Birds like predictability and generally don’t do well in houses with small children. They don’t do well when stressed. And yes, birds do need vet care from time to time, and finding a good vet who enjoys working with birds can be like searching for the holy grail.

      All of this means you have to spend money and pay attention to this creature that is going to make a huge mess and produce a rather awe-inspiring amount of noise. They’re also fascinating to watch, full of personality and energy, beautiful trills and chirps when they’re in the mood, and (especially when you have multiple birds) constant engagement in both arguments and friendly companionship. My current parakeets are one and twelve (almost thirteen). I would hate to not have birds, but they’re absolutely not for everyone.

  24. Horselady says:

    Just think, though,

    If selling animals was outlawed,
    maybe we could find homes for all the cats & dogs
    now in shelters & humane societies,
    that would be SO great……

  25. GqhnqCTE says:

    Simple. Just have PETA round up all the animals and kill them all. Just like they did last time.

  26. MaxPower says:

    Looks like I have to go to Oakland for my pets and plastic bags.

  27. JohnDeere says:

    prohibition doesnt work. bring on puppy cartels.

  28. scientific progress goes boink says:

    Somebody better pass that memo to my rats, they certainly don’t seem to think they’re inappropriate. All they ever want to do is play and cuddle… and poop.

    I can totally understand hamsters being “inappropriate” though. Those things bite first, ask questions later, then bite again just for good measure lol. Terrible pets for young children which seem to be the only ones ever interested in owning them.

  29. DarkPsion says:

    Also consider the problems with some Pet adoption places. When my brother wanted to get a dog, he tried some of these places, but they would not provide an animal unless he promised the dog would never be put outside, would have to be provided “organic” dog food only and other ridiculous requirements.

    He eventually got his dog from someone giving away puppies in a Wal Mart parking lot.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      Some rescues really have sticks up their butts. I totally understand the need for a home inspection, but my dad and step-mom decided to rescue at cat. The rescue lady came twice to their house, was rude to them, and denied them a cat because their screen door had a tear in it.

      So my dad and step-mom bought a cat from a breeder instead. (It’s a really rad cat too.)

  30. thetroubleis says:

    This is a good idea. Good breeders do not sell their animals to pet stores. I’m looking into buying a Lionhead rabbit from a breeder and and part of the breed club rules include no selling to pet stores or brokers.

    If someone really wants pet, I think they can take the time to find a good breeder, a shelter or rescue. I waited 6 months for my puppy to be born along with putting down a sizable deposit and I couldn’t be happier now, almost 2 years later. People need to keep their need for instant gratification away from pets.

  31. ellemdee says:

    There are plenty of successful pet stores that do not actually sell pets. In fact, these are the only shops that will get my business. Even if I get an animal from a shelter or rescue, I will still need to buy food, toys, beds, supplies, etc., so I don’t buy that the stores can’t survive without carrying animals. I’ve seen what pet stores will falsely claim about the origins of their animals to prevent disclosing that their animals came from puppy mills. I think most people would never buy an animal from a pet store again if they knew about cruel puppy mill conditions and saw what their money was supporting. I encourage everyone to educate themselves before you buy.

    I have a lot more to say about this issue but, to save those who aren’t interested in more information the scrolling, I’ll continue in a comment below instead of a top level comment. I know most people won’t read it and information on the puppy mills that supply most of the nation’s pet stores can be disturbing, but I’m including it for those who are interested.

    • ellemdee says:

      This is going to be a long post, but those of you who genuinely wonder “what’s the big deal?” about pet stores selling animals (which overwhelmingly come from puppy mills) might find this information useful.

      Many people don’t realize that most pet store dogs come from puppy mills and that many store-bought dogs are sick when you buy them due to horrible practices in the mills. Just some of the conditions and practices seen in mills:

      -Untreated, serious, painful medical conditions (ulcers, infections, open sores, ruptured anal glands, etc)
      -Inadequate shelter from freezing and sweltering temps
      -Water so old it’s green with mold (if they have any water at all)
      -Dogs eating their own feces in a futile attempt to clean the cage they will spend their entire lives in
      -Overwhelming ammonia odors
      -Dogs so matted they can’t walk because it’s too painful
      -Dogs that can no longer stand due to paw damage from living their entire lives on wire floored cages
      -Dogs so thin and crippled, it’s amazing they can keep getting pregnant.
      -Some mills don’t want to be annoyed by the barking of their dogs crying in pain, crying for food, crying for human contact – so they shove pipes down their throats to damage their vocal cords to they can’t bark (but they can still breed!).

      This is what your money is supporting when you buy animals from pet stores.

      One PetSmart animal supplier (not a vet) neutered a rabbit without anesthesia, using a dull razor, and a Clorox wipe to sterilize the fresh incision afterwards. I’ve seen a video of a bird with an easily treatable condition slowly deteriorate and die over several weeks. A worker repeatedly asked to be able to take the bird to be looked at by a vet, but the supervisor wouldn’t allow it because they were afraid it would attract attention to the fact that their animals were sick.

      A large number of the country’s puppy mills are run by the Amish. Back in 2008, two brothers who ran Amish puppy mills were ordered to have a vet check out their dogs. They decided it would be cheaper to just “go out of business” (as they put it) by shooting their 80 dogs. Though authorities encouraged them to surrender the dogs if they no longer wanted them, they chose to kill them all instead.

      During a raid on a different puppy mill, the Pennsylvania SPCA found dogs with “missing eyes and ears, sores and other untreated skin conditions; many dogs had splayed feet from standing for hours, days on end, on wire floored cages.” An undercover agent was able to purchase a 3 week old puppy, even though it would have been illegal to sell the puppy until it was at least a month older. The puppy later died.

      A local mill was raided for the second time two years ago (at which point they were already legally prohibited from breeding dogs again). As one article accounted “one Chihuahua with red, swollen feet was caked in feces and slumped over, his head in a dirty food dish. He struggled to stand up and lift his head when a rescuer approached the cage. “I thought he was dead when I saw him,” the rescuer…said.” Another stated that “some of the dogs’ fur was so matted that their skin was ripping as [vet office] employees tried to brush them“. Neighbors reported seeing dead dogs on the property for years. The surviving dogs were starving and dehydrated, covered in urine & feces, had mange, tumors, matted hair, open sores, infections, eye ulcers, swollen eyes, and ruptured anal glands. Some went blind due simply because eye infections went untreated. Lots of tiny dogs who managed to survive while exposed to the elements in Michigan summers and winters were left with horrible, extremely painful injuries and conditions that were ignored. But they were allowed to live and suffer another day because they were somehow still able to get pregnant, so they were still profitable. This was a so-called reputable breeder claiming to breed AKC registered showdogs and albino dobermans. Many, many buyers from this breeder later shared the same stories of aggressive, unsocialized puppies whose leg muscles were so atrophied from never being let out of a cage too short for them to stand up in that they could barely walk at first. This woman ran this operation for over 30 years!

      Puppy mills and many people who buy from pet stores think cute first and health/temperament second or third. The mills do so out of greed and the buyers do so usually out of inexperience with dogs or not being aware of where pet shop dogs really come from. It would be impossible for the “small, private breeders” many pet stores claim to use to be able to keep up with demand – only large scale puppy mulls can provide enough dogs fast enough to meet pet stores’ orders. My dog is a rescue and, through a little detective work, I was able to trace her back to a puppy mill even though I was her 4th owner. Since adopting her, she has developed a serious autoimmune condition. At least one of her parents should have never been bred because the condition is hereditary…but she’s cute, so that trumps all with mill owners because people will pay for cute, so what if almost all dogs with this condition are dead within a year of getting symptoms.

      I’ve heard countless reports from pet store workers at multiple pet shops about the sickest dogs just being moved to a back “sick room” or closet to die out of the public view and dogs seizing and slowly dying for hours in the employees’ arms because the shop owner refused to allow vet care (comes out of profits, you know). One of my old neighbors had 12 dogs in a small house and would sell her “oops” litters to a local pet store that charged $800-$1200 a puppy & claimed they were from “reputable, out of state breeders” (you’ll hear that phrase a lot from shops that adamantly deny using mills). Calling them reputable implies that the shop has checked them out, but “out of state” prevents people from wanting to actually verify the breeding conditions themselves. The USDA certification is meaningless, as even the most horrible mills manage to keep this certification, even with multiple violations. There was a special on Animal Planet recently which specifically documented this behavior and traced dogs from Petland directly to puppy mills with dogs living in deplorable conditions. Buyers often don’t realize there’s a problem until they start to get attached to their new $1000 pup only to realize it has Parvo and eye & respiratory infections and will cost another $1000+ just for the chance to keep it alive. I constantly see people who like to brag about spending $1000 on a puppy but won’t “waste” $15 for a Rabies or Distemper shot or won’t get their dogs fixed because they think they’re so cute that they can turn them into their own personal breeding/moneymaking machine, further adding to the overpopulation problem.

      Some people assume pound/rescue dogs are damaged goods when really most are great dogs who are just victims of bad circumstances or bad people, especially with the current economy forcing many people from their homes or having to choose between feeding their kids and feeding their dogs. I grew up with a purebred Cairn terrier, adopted as a puppy from the pound for $20. My family used to foster for a rescue and we fostered some really great dogs, including a surprising number of young, healthy, well mannered purebreds.

      Rescues fully vet each animal and ensure that they all get fixed. They are not in it for profit, they volunteer because they want to find each dog the home that’s the best fit (for both the dog and the people). Rescues also evaluate each dog and won’t adopt a dog into a home that isn’t a good match for its temperament, whereas a pet store will promise you that the 8 week old Chihuahua you’re buying is already housetrained, known 10 commands, will never get any bigger than 3 pounds (size can’t usually be guaranteed by anyone at that age) and is guaranteed to be great with your kids, even though the dog has probably never even been out of a cage or set foot on grass before, let alone spent time in a family environment. The first time it nips at their kid or gets too big to be carried around in a purse, it ends up at the pound. Want to buy a delicate little dog for your 5 year old who pinkie-swear promised that they’ll totally take care of it all by theirself because you don’t want to? A pet store would be more than happy to help you out, while a rescue would never irresponsibly adopt a dog under those circumstances.

      • suedehead4 says:

        I love it when people say they’re reluctant to adopt from a shelter because “all the animals there have been mistreated and they must have terrible psychological problems.” Well guess what, an animal bred at a puppy mill then sold to a pet store likely hasn’t been properly socialized, let alone had the veterinary care commonly given to shelter animals.

        At least shelter staff/volunteers can usually tell you which animals may have issues–and the ones with real big problems often go right on the euthanasia list if shelters have limited space/resources–and recommend a suitable one. A few might have a history of abuse and need a patient adopter willing to work with them to overcome their issues, but most are animals with an unremarkable background that ended up there because their owners moved or died or discovered they were allergic or couldn’t afford them or *insert lame excuse*.

  32. MustardTiger says:

    There has been a ban on Ferrets in California as well; best pets known to man. The playfulness of a kitten combined likened with the companionship of a puppy

  33. bunnyblues says:

    Logically, the more draconian ban makes the most sense–if it’s distasteful to breed living things for human amusement, that means ALL living things, not just dogs and cats.

    Realistically, you have to start small, because not everyone thinks logically, and some that do think logically don’t have empathy. All change takes time.

  34. areaman says:

    This will solve none of the problems the commission sees.

    That’s where I disagree. A lot of people in SF never leave SF unless their family dies or something like this. If these people cannot get a pet within the same 5 minutes they decided to get one they will give up and go to the Zeitgeist for a drink or throw the frisby around.

  35. VouxCroux says:

    This just in, the black market will be opening up a pet shop in San Francisco.