Los Angeles City Ordinance Would Ban The Retail Sale of Pets

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Big things are happening in Los Angeles for dogs (cats and rabbits too)! In a monumental push to help lower the city’s shelters’ euthanasia rates and ameliorate overcrowding, clamp down on the puppy mill industry, and control the epidemic of homeless pets in the City of Los Angeles, Councilman Paul Koretz (left) has sponsored an ordinance to ban the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits. The ordinance, which is working its way through the city’s committee process, would prohibit any person to sell any dog, cat or rabbit in any pet store, retail business or other similar establishment located in the City of Los Angeles, with an obvious and appropriate exemption given to non-profit rescue organizations registered with the city’s animal services agency. If passed by the city council, the ordinance would run for a (roughly) three-year period with a set expiration date of June 30, 2016.

The movement in Los Angeles to help save and improve the quality of life for city pets has been an evolving process. An organization that has had a recent and powerful impact in the city, and has worked collaboratively with the city council on this issue, is Best Friends Animal Society and its innovative initiative called No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA). NKLA is a conglomerate of local advocates who have partnered to save the city’s shelter pets.

“After more than two years of working with the city on this ordinance, we are thrilled that we are so close to bringing it to the city council for a vote. It makes no sense to continue importing and selling dogs and cats in L.A. when so many healthy, adoptable animals are being killed in our local shelters. Los Angeles has become a leader in animal welfare issues, and this ordinance represents a major step toward a more humane and compassionate city,” said Best Friends’ Elizabeth Oreck, the organization’s national manager on its puppy mill initiative.

Best Friends has had a presence in Los Angeles for some time but recently expanded its efforts by opening up an adoption and spay/neuter center in the Mission Hills-area. Sadly, the help is definitely needed. According to NKLA, the city takes in 56,000 animals a year and kills nearly 20,000. That’s a lot of lives in need of saving.

The city’s website reports that the ordinance is back at the city attorney’s office to add recommendations that came out of the ordinance’s October 2 Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee meeting.

If this ordinance succeeds, Los Angeles would join the likes of other humane communities, like Austin, Texas, which passed its own retail pet store ban in December 2010. Regardless of the ordinance’s future, if you are a resident of Los Angeles, next time you are in the market for a new family member, support your city by choosing to adopt a shelter dog (or cat, or rabbit) from one of the city’s shelters or rescue partners.

Jessi Freud is a dog advocate who has been volunteering with rescues and shelters for nearly 10 years. Most recently, she was a volunteer news writer for Best Friends Animal Society and an active volunteer with Texas-based shelter Austin Pets Alive! This fall, Jessi begins her first year in law school where she plans to get involved in the world of animal law. Follow her on Twitter

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