San Francisco lawmakers voted unanimously on Feb. 14 to ban the city's pet stores from selling dogs and cats obtained from anywhere besides animal rescues, in a move many are praising for taking a part in eradicating "inhumane" breeding practices and so-called "puppy mills."
The city's amendment also prevents pet stores from selling animals younger than 8 weeks old, in an effort to set an example to other cities across the nation, reports The Independent.
"With this vote, San Francisco has proved itself to be the city of love for millions of dogs and cats in desperate need of homes," said PETA's director of international programs Mimi Bekhechi, according to The Independent. "Pet shops' greed fuels the cruel commercial breeding industry that keeps female dogs and cats prisoner inside filthy wire cages -- whose only purpose is to churn out litters of inbred puppies and kittens who are then taken away from them, transported hundreds of miles, and sold."
San Francisco will join Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Austin in cracking down on puppy mills in their respective areas. San Francisco's regulation applies only to pet stores and does not affect licensed breeders.
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Although the city does not have any known pet shops that buy from puppy mills or other commercial breeding facilities, the amendment will prevent stores from participating in the system in the future.
"The city has recognized that animals are not commodities and that there's a direct link between the industry and the millions of dogs and cats in shelters around the world who are euthanized each year because there aren't enough good homes for them all," said Bekhechi.
The APSCA estimates 7.6 million companion animals -- including 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats, many of which came from breeders or pet shops -- enter animal shelters across the nation each year. Approximately 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are euthanized in those shelters annually.
"This ordinance will serve as a deterrent, preventing a business from moving into San Francisco and selling animals from irresponsible mass-producing breeders that churn out puppies and kittens as if they were on an assembly line," wrote District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang, who sponsored the legislation, according to The Independent. "Beyond protecting consumers and cutting off the supply chain, this ordinance also acknowledges San Francisco businesses for their humane business practices."