Per a Feb. 14 vote, San Francisco has banned the sale of non-rescue dogs and cats at pet stores, following a nationwide crackdown on so-called "puppy mills."
"We really do believe that it will send a great message not just in San Francisco but across California, nationwide and hopefully worldwide," the city's District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang said during a board meeting in February, around the time that the bill passed, according to The Huffington Post.
The law restricts pet stores from selling dogs and cats that are younger than eight weeks old, and it also requires sellers to partner with shelters and rescues if they wish to sell pets.
"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 Mimi Bekhechi, director of international programs at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 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," Bekhechi continued.
At the time of the bill's passing, there were no known pet stores in the city that sold dogs or cats from breeders, although Tang said that the legislation was created to keep that from happening in the future. The law will not affect San Francisco's licensed breeders who do not work with pet shops.
"Since pet stores are a key to puppy mills, ordinances from local cities are making sure that puppy mills will no longer have a place to sell," said Amy Jesse, the policy director of the Humane Society, according to SF Bay.
Jesse explained that eliminating puppy mill retailers has been shown to be the most effective way to go after the unhealthy breeders.
"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," said Tang, according to The Independent.
San Francisco joins a handful of cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Austin, which have implemented similar legislation to prevent pet stores from selling dogs and cats from breeders.
"Most animal lovers are horrified at the thought of keeping their beloved family pet in a dirty wire cage for a second -- let alone a week, month or even years," the San Francisco Board of Supervisors wrote in a San Francisco Examiner op-ed endorsing the February measure. "Yet, that is the fate of many animals at large-scale commercial breeding operations across the nation, including the mothers of many puppies and kittens sold in pet shops. In response, more than 200 cities and counties across the nation have banned the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores."