(ANIMAL NEWS) For those who’ve been following the story of Los Angeles’ attempt to ban puppy mills — rejoice! The motion to draft a law banning the mills was approved, including a few compassionate bonus features. The Los Angeles city council seeks not only to put an end to puppy mills, but create more opportunities for families to adopt shelter animals. The puppy mills, institutionalized breeding facilities that promote inbreeding and animal cruelty, take advantage of both people and animals. The new law will, if properly enforced, truly make the city of angels a heavenly place for pets and the people who love them. — Global Animal
Los Angeles – The City Council today instructed the Department of Animal Services to draft a law banning the commercial breeding of dogs, cats, rabbits and chickens in Los Angeles and the sale of factory-bred animals in pet stores.
The motion, which was introduced by City Councilman Paul Koretz and was approved unanimously, also asks the department to arrange frequent adoption drives for shelter animals at licensed pet stores.
Koretz called the measure a win-win for the city.
“It will help us reduce our pet over-population problem, and it will save us a significant amount of money,” he said.
Koretz said he unknowingly purchased a “puppy mill” bichon 20 years ago, and it required expensive medical care.
“This is frequently the case because these animals are inbred and raised in terrible conditions, and that results in medical problems, behavioral problems … often that leads to those animals winding up in our animal shelters,” he said.
The Department of Animal Services took in about 55,000 animals last year and expects that number to rise this year. It euthanizes about 25 percent of dogs and 50 percent of cats that wind up in shelters.
“We’re not only protecting the animals, but we’re protecting the people in the community, the people who don’t know that when they go into a pet store they are paying hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for an animal that is likely to be sick (or) have genetic defects,” Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette said.
Barnette said she knows there are puppy mills in the city, but not how many.
“A lot of them fly under the radar illegally. They’re very clever, and they have their little lookouts and they will move from house to house to house, and move their animals with them and stay one step ahead of law enforcement,” Barnette said.
Councilman Ed Reyes voted to support the ban, but cautioned that it needs to come with some enforcement mechanisms.
“I have seen us pose policies that are very well written, very well intended, but enforcement is the key,” he said.
Barnette agreed the effort would reduce her department’s costs. She said the average dog costs the city about $402 and the average cat costs about $281. The costs include food, health care, facility maintenance and the staffing costs for a three-member panel necessary for approving about 20,000 euthanizations per year.
The motion also calls for the city to generate a type of endorsement for pet stores that operate humanely.
Councilman Tony Cardenas, who helped create the city’s Animal Cruelty Task Force in 2005, said the policy would be a model for the rest of the country.
“All too often, unsuspecting pet owners are supporting greedy and cruel puppy mills. I want that to end in Los Angeles,” Cardenas said.