Under the new law, pet stores are limited to selling dogs, cats, and rabbits obtained from shelters and licensed animal rescue organizations. Any pet store caught in violation of the city ordinance may face misdemeanor charges and fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 depending on the number of times an offense is committed.
The ban will not affect licensed, responsible breeders, from whom consumers can still purchase pets directly.
Councilmember Paul Koretz, a lifelong animal lover, introduced the ordinance earlier this year in hopes that prohibiting retail pet sales would encourage an increase in adoption rates at Los Angeles animal shelters and crack down on puppy mills, kitten factories, and rabbit farms that breed pets for profit while housing their animals in horrific conditions.
In October, Councilman Koretz told the Contra Costa Times that is to make adopting a pet the “new normal” for the city of Los Angeles.
Best Friends Animal Society’s national manager of puppy mill initiatives, Elizabeth Oreck, says that the ban will have an immensely positive impact in L.A. — and beyond.
“Not only will this restrict the flow of animals coming into our city from pet mills and backyard breeders, it will help alleviate the pet overpopulation problem in our shelters by providing more opportunities for rescued animals to find homes,” Oreck explained.
“To continue importing puppies and kittens from mills in other states while we are killing the surplus that are already filling our shelters simply doesn’t make sense,” Oreck added. “Today, Los Angeles took a reasonable and progressive step to addressing these issues in our city.”
Los Angeles will join more than 30 other North American cities in banning retail sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits. Ten California towns and cities have already outlawed commercial pet sales, including Laguna Beach, Irvine, and Hermosa Beach, but animal advocates say that adding L.A. to the list is one of the biggest victories yet in the fight against puppy mills.
After the passing of L.A.’s retail pet sales ordinance, other towns and municipalities across the nation are taking notice. According to The Best Friends Blog, Chicago is poised to become the next large U.S. city to consider a ban on commercial pet sales, a move that could save the lives of thousands of the Windy City’s shelter pets.