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Ban on sale of commercially-bred pets heads to L.A. council

August 21, 2012 |  8:10 pm

A Los Angeles City Council committee Tuesday approved a proposed ordinance that would require every dog, cat or rabbit sold for profit in the city to be obtained from a shelter or humane society.

If passed by the full council, the law would prohibit the sale of commercially-bred cats, dogs and rabbits. Violations could be considered misdemeanors punishable by fines of $250 to $1,000. 

Pet advocates said the law was needed to prevent pet store suppliers from mistreating animals, and to reduce animal shelter crowding. Tens of thousands of cats and dogs have to be euthanized each year, according to city officials.

"If passed, this will spare countless animals from needless suffering," said Matt Bruce, a spokesman for the Los Angeles chapter of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "Every time a pet is bought from a store, a pet in a shelter loses that opportunity for a home."

Critics of the ban said that pet buyers seeking pure-bred pets would simply start buying them online and from local breeders.

Councilman Richard Alarcon supported the ban, but warned it might help numerous illegal breeders in his district.

"It's nice to pontificate on the attributes of a concept, but I don't see any way to enforce it," Alarcon said.

Councilman Paul Koretz said one ordinance won't solve the problem. "We have to do this one piece at a time," Koretz said.

Eleven pet stores in the city that primarily sell cats and dogs would be affected, said Brenda Barnette, general manager of the city's animal services department. The stores would have to show proof that the animals were obtained from city-approved shelters and animal protection societies or risk losing their operating permits.

Barnette said the council could vote on the final ordinance next month.

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--Frank Shyong at Los Angeles City Hall.

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