Looking for a specialty pet in Sacramento? You will no longer find one in a pet store. City Council issued an ordinance Tuesday to outlaw the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores. Local stores will now be partnering with shelters and rescue services to encourage owners to adopt these animals.
About 46.3 million U.S. households own dogs, and 38.9 million own cats, many of which come from commercial breeders as well as puppy and kitten mills. With this policy, local lawmakers hope to up the number of animals that are adopted from shelters.
“Dogs and cats born in such mills are prone to illnesses that can be life-threatening
and expensive to treat, and the unwitting consumers who purchase them are often
left heartbroken,” the ordinance reads. “Thus, many of these dogs and cats end up in shelters, placing further strains on a community’s animal welfare resources.”
In a statement to KCRA, Front Street Animal Shelter Director Gina Knepp said that even though all but one pet store in Sacramento already connects owners with shelter pets, this ordinance is a statement of animal protection. KCRA reports that 30 other municipalities in California have similar rules.
The ordinance also points out the economic benefit that pet adoption has on communities, citing the burden of stray and shelter animals.
“Minimizing the number of dogs and cats entering the sheltering system ultimately reduces costs associated to the care of stray and unwanted dogs and cats currently supported by the General Fund,” the ordinance text reads. “Reduction of intake also allows for improved care of the dogs and cats that appropriately enter the shelter.”
While this city measure will prohibit pet stores from selling specialty bred pets, KCRA reports that residents can still seek these pets from breeders — it’s simply a matter of choosing well.
“If someone wants or needs a purebred animal, of course they can go to a breeder, but there are things you want to look for,” Knepp said. “You’re buying this animal on the internet? You may want to think twice.”
The Humane Society of the United States provides a checklist to help pet owners find a responsible breeder. List items include allowing potential owners to visit, having a relationship with a local vet, among other signs that a breeder is raising animals in a safe and healthy environment.
Dog breeder Pam Brann said in a statement to KCRA that the best breeders will only sell animals to responsible owners as well.
“You get a feeling for who you want to sell your dog to. It’s not about selling a dog,” she said. “We take care of them, we nurture them, we watch them from day one. My puppies are born in my front room.”