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L.A. to become largest city to ban shops from selling puppy mill pets

October 25, 2012 |  8:10 am

Los Angeles is poised to become the largest city in the nation to ban pet shops from selling dogs, cats and rabbits obtained from commercial breeders -– and animal rights activists are hoping other large cities follow suit.

The Los Angeles City Council tentatively adopted on a 12-2 vote an ordinance that officials say will target puppy mills and prevent tens of thousands of animals from being euthanized in city shelters each year.

Individuals still will be allowed to buy directly from breeders, but pet stores will be limited to selling animals obtained from shelters, humane societies and registered rescue groups. Stores violating the restrictions could face misdemeanor charges and a penalty of $250, which would increase with repeat offenses.

Animal rights activists pushed for the ban, which has already been adopted in smaller cities such as Irvine, Hermosa Beach and West Hollywood.

Councilman Paul Koretz, a longtime supporter of animal rights, championed the ban and said lawmakers have a duty to stick up for animals who "cannot speak for themselves."

Pet shop owners complained that the restrictions were unfair and unnecessary.

"It's just making us suffer," said Candice Ro, who owns Olympic Pet Shop in Koreatown. For 11 years, she said, her family has been selling Yorkshire terriers, English bulldogs and other puppies mostly acquired from local breeders who take good care of their animals.

City officials said the ban, which returns to the council for a final vote next week, could affect two dozen pet stores. The restrictions will be reviewed after three years, officials said, to determine if they are working and should be extended.

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-- Kate Linthicum at City Hall

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