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West Hollywood expected to ban retail sales of dogs and cats [Updated]

The West Hollywood City Council is expected Tuesday night to approve an ordinance that would prohibit most sales of dogs and cats in pet stores.

The measure, which was unanimously approved at its first reading two weeks ago, is the city's latest piece of animal welfare legislation.

About a decade ago, city leaders rewrote city statutes to replace "pet" with "companion" and "owner" with "guardian." In 2003, West Hollywood became the first city in the country to outlaw cat declawing.

The law being considered now -- called the Ordinance Prohibiting the Sale of Dogs and Cats in Companion Animal Stores -- would not be the nation's first. Last year, South Lake Tahoe adopted an ordinance banning the retail sale of dogs and cats, which, like the West Hollywood law, was aimed at curtailing puppy mills.

If approved, West Hollywood's ordinance would go into effect March 19. No businesses would be immediately affected, said Councilman Jeffrey Prang, because there are no pet stores that sell cats and dogs within city limits. [Updated at 2:14: A previous version of this post said there were no pet stores within city limits.] The ordinance also includes exemptions for humanely bred, reared or sheltered animals.

Prang said it was no coincidence that West Hollywood, a national hub of progressive politics, would approve such an ordinance.

"People who have compassion for human rights tend to have a similar compassion to all living creatures," Prang said.

Besides, he said, "We have many, many pet guardians in our city."

-- Kate Linthicum

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Comments () | Archives (39)

Too bad the rest of the country can't follow West Hollywood's example. The powers that be regarding puppy mills and others who cruelly exploit animals instead of practicing humane and ethical breeding are the main reasons this country is so slow to recognize our companion animals as such, instead of voiceless, helpless property, along with your average ignorant consumers who continue to buy these poor sick animals from pet stores, swap-meets, street vendors and backyards! Shame on you who do this!

High-five for West Hollywood. Its continuing commitment to animal welfare is admirable and should serve as a model for the rest of the country.

This is stupid. Pet stores are not puppy mills. People selling a litter of puppies their dog just had are not puppy mills. WeHo needs to get a grip on reality.

PetGuardian! Able to leap great danes in a single bound! Can smell better than a beagle! Softer and more cuddly than a pekinese!

Coming to a theater near you. Except in West Hollywood. There's a law there about making fun of them. Or there will be.

Pet shops guard people's privacy, and are to be preferred to animal shelters where people who desire to buy a dog or cat are cross examined by self righteous busy bodies.

A better practice would be to pass a law protecting civil rights by prohibiting nosy questions by purveyors of animals.

Spay and neuter now!

I hope enough other cities follow the example set by West Hollywood to create momentum for similar statewide legislation.

I don't care if people think this is stupid or unimportant. It's the right thing to do. If you disagree, you're ignorant to the facts. 6-8 million animals are euthanised each year for want of homes. Why? Because people still purchase animals. Is it none of my business? Those 6-8 million animals don't think so.

A pet shop is not a puppy mill but may, knowingly or unknowingly, get their animals from a puppy mill. The important thing, however, is that there are tens of thousands of cats and dogs being euthanized-- at taxpayer expense-- at the same time that pet stores are selling animals. More important would be increased spaying and neutering programs, and a change in the mindset of people wanting "special" breeds created and maintained for looks, even if this continues generations of genetic problems in the animals. I couldn't care less if the animal is called a pet or companion-- that's just a diversion-- but I do care about all of the animals killed each year. Are there more important problems? Yes, but ignoring this one won't help solve the others.

Will: Those "busy bodies" at the animal shelter are there to ensure that an animal taken away from an abuse-prone or neglected situation doesn't end up in the same situation. The reason why pet shops don't question buyers is because they operate under the assumption that the animals they've acquired were responsibly bred and sold, which is not always the case. Also, Will, you forget that pet shops are driven to turn a profit; they don't really care if you can take care of the animal you buy, as long as you buy.

You're assuming that animal shelters operate for a profit; guess what, they don't. They're looking out for the best interests of the animal. If you're so annoyed by the questions they ask you at the animal shelter, then maybe, just maybe, you may not the right person to assume responsibility for another life.

And since you want to bring the issue of civil rights into question, pray tell: which of your civil rights are they animal shelters violating? The last time I checked the jurisprudence, an animal shelter that asks you RELEVANT background information is not an unreasonable search, you can walk away from it anytime, and you can refuse to answer.

This is so far beyond stupid that there's not even a WORD for it.

If WeHo wants to impact puppy mills, they should FINE RESIDENTS FOR PURCHASING PUPPIES AT RETAIL STORES when they come in to license their pets by requiring a notarized proof of purchase directly from a breeder.

At least 80% of the "companion animals" in WeHo come from puppy mill supplied pet stores all over the Westside. Fine city residents for PURCHASING THEM if you want to make an impact, you r-s!

People, research how many animals are in shelters and how many are euthanized every day. What a waste of precious life! Most "puppy mills" do not treat their animals in a humane manner. Some are imported from other countries and die on the way here. This law should be a FEDERAL LAW! Animals should be bred for show only! Show animals are treated very, very well. Why can't the rich and famous rescue from shelters instead of encouraging puppy mills to create more of what already exists? Stop the waste!

HOOOOORAAAAAY for West Hollywood. Lets hope more cities follow your lead!

Is West Hollywood being ran by People or Pets? Excuse me, Im mean COMPANIONS. Unless that dog or cat is paying rent and working a job,it is a pet, yes, an animal and you are the OWNER.

Also, pet store arent puppy mills. They are ran better than the average joe who sells animals out of his house!

I just adopted a dog 7 weeks ago and I would never, ever consider paying for a pet.

STILL, some people want pets that have more predictable characteristics--non allergenic hair, a calm disposition, etc. The only way hope to get a pet that is predictable in any way is to get a pure bred dog. Obviously puppy mills that are abusive of animals are bad. But all store bought animals are not.

Having the government come and say you can't raise pure-bred animals is totally "big-brother" creepy. I worry about a society that applauds this kind of government involvement. What next--outlawing abortion? Banning gay rights? Government intrusion in our private lives is wrong from any perspective.

The reason these puppy mills exist is that not all,but many of these shelters are insane for the number of hoops that make someone jump thru to obtain a pet. Once you have your pet, they declare restrictions over your life as if they are the only ones that know how to care for a pet. The arrogance is disgusting. Their heart is in the right place, but they are driving to people to buy dogs at these puppy mills.

Btw, this law is complete waste of time having no effect on anything.

There really is a simple solution to all of this. Take all the animals euthanized, make casseroles with their bodies and jackets with their pelts and feed and clothe the homeless. Everybody wins.

This is just stupid.

I oppose puppies being sold at retail, because there is no way a pup in a retail store will receive the appropriate socialization to people and other animals that is essential to the pup developing into a healthy, well-adjusted adult dog. HOWEVER, the rationale many people cite for this law is just stupid -- I suppose they also think that human couples ought not "breed" so long as there are so many millions of children who need adoptive families!

This makes me proud! Its about time too!!!


dont stop all pet sales in W Hollywood. Unless they can prove that a retailer is purchasing from puppy mills that do not follow good breeding and other humane practices. Otherwise, it is a restraint of fair trade, there is no state or federal law prohibiting it. To blame all pet retailers for the actions of puppy mills is ridiculous. Maybe set requirements for breeders supplying pet stores in West Hollywood. And if anyone thinks anything that happens in West Hollywood will affect the world, let alone the rest of the US (S Tahoe aside!), not going to happen! and so what...anyone in W Hollywood who wants to purchase a pet store pet will just come next door to LA where there is a pet store in just about every major retail mall. I agree that there is a need to reduce the number of (uncared for/homeless) dogs and cats but this is not the way.

Linda: The problem with your analogy to children is that we are not KILLING children who don't have homes. Animals are killed everyday in shelters because there is not enough space and not enough people coming to the shelters to adopt those animals.

SimpleSolution: Glad someone has a sense of humor about all this.

Bambi Delore, et al: Sure, pet stores themselves generally aren't puppy mills. But they often get their animals from puppy mills and are run for profit, not in the interest of the animals. This is the problem. The conditions at pet stores are often so bad, and the environment is counterproductive to the animal's development, that the animals suffer horribly, often leading to misbehavior, which often prompts the owner who bought them from the store to get rid of them, and they usually end up in the shelter system, where they have to be euthanized if they are not adopted soon enough.

Good for West Hollywood. If you want a good dog or cat go to the local animal shelter. We had to put our 17 yr. old cat to sleep recently and after a few weeks went to the Downey shelter and adopted the best cat. He fit right in with our 3 yr. old cat. I wouldn't even adopted a cat or dog from a pet store. I think all cities should pass this law.

Retail sales of pets are banned in city that does not have any pet retail stores?

West Hollywood just thinks its cute it can navigate laws but changing pronouns all the time. Way to be progressive.

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