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WeHo Cat & Dog Sale Ban Seeks to 'Eliminate the Demand' of Puppy Mill Dogs

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The move to ban the sale of cats and dogs in West Hollywood is a first, but that's nothing unusual. The recent spate of cat declawing bans in various cities around California--Los Angeles included--was something that began there and it seems to have invigorated some new energy. "West Hollywood can take the lead on this issue and help set the standard for Southern California city governments," reads the background analysis to the ban's proposal. The proposed ordinance (.pdf) goes before the West Hollywood City Council on Monday evening. "This ordinance prohibits the sale of ALL dogs and cats at companion animal stores; providing exemptions for humanely bred, reared or sheltered animals," continues the analysis. "For existing Pet Stores it provides a grandfathering or amortization period for non-conformance to allow them to recover their investment made in that portion of their business that involves the sale of dogs andlor cats."

At issue are "puppy mills" or "kitten factories," which the city analysis says are problematic: "Documented problems of puppy mills include over breeding, inbreeding, veterinary care that doesn't meet the same standards as other breeders, relatively poor quality of food and shelter, lack of human socialization, and overcrowded cages. Dogs bred in puppy mills are more likely to have behavior and/or health problems. While kitten factories are not as common as puppy mills, similar problems are reported regarding kitten factories. The only way to protect the welfare and safety of companion animals and to free them from the misery of horrid mass bred producers is to eliminate the demand."

If passed--Tuesday will be the first of two readings required--existing pet stores will have until September 17th to comply. Pet stores that breed animals on the premises will be allowed to continue selling the pets. Also exempt are animal shelters and rescues, and if they operate in connection with a pet store.