The Los Angeles City Council's decision to ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits purchased from commercial breeders closely resembles action taken by the city of West Hollywood in 2010.
West Hollywood was among the first cities in the country to ban pet sales from pet stores when it adopted an ordinance prohibiting these sales in February 2010.
Weho Mayor Jeffrey Prang, who helped introduce the ordinance, said many pet stores would acquire pets for in-store sales from inhumane circumstances.
“Most pet shops in malls purchase pets from factory production, and these are places where they inbreed and exhaust these dogs from pumping out so many puppies," Prang said. "It's very unhealthy."
Prang said that within two days of adopting the ordinance, he received calls from city officials from across the country, and that he and members of Weho city council relayed the idea to City Councilman Paul Koretz.
Koretz introduced the measure earlier this year with the intention of shutting down puppy and kitten mills and reducing the tens of thousands of euthanizations performed on unclaimed animals each year. The city euthanized more than 21,000 dogs, cats and rabbits in each of the last two fiscal years—about 37 percent of the animals impounded.
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday voted 13-2 for the ban. City Councilmen Bill Rosendahl and Mitchell Englander cast the dissenting votes.
Under L.A.'s ban, people can still purchase pets directly from breeders, just not in stores. Pet stories will be able to obtain non-breeder stock from the city's animal shelters or humane societies registered with the city's Department of Animal Services.
Pet shops and other retailers will have six months before the law goes into effect. The penalty for violating the ban will start at $250 for a first offense, increasing up to $1,000 for a third strike.
Companion Animal Protection Society West Coast Director Carole Raphaelle Davis said the law would help end "the blood money contracts between puppy mill owners who abuse animals and L.A. pet retailers."
"We are relieved that finally, the cries of L.A.'s shelter animals have been heard. Puppy mills and cruel pet factories will fade into history at last," Davis said.
In a Patch poll, 63 percent of voters approved of the ban while 30 percent disapproved, saying rescue pets need a home but there shouldn't a ban against buying animals from commercial breeders in pet stores.