OCEANSIDE — City Council voted down drafting an ordinance to ban sales of dogs unless dogs are obtained through the humane society, a nonprofit animal rescue organization, or Oceanside breeder.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez made the motion with the intention to guard against puppy mill dog sales.
She said she is against the inhumane practices of puppy mills, and the burden of unwanted puppy mill dogs with health and behavior problems overburdening the humane society and costing taxpayers.
“It’s a cruelty issue that will cost taxpayers,” Sanchez said.
A ban against pet store dog, cat and rabbit sales was passed in San Diego in July in a 6-2 San Diego City Council vote.
The ban effected David Salinas owner of San Diego Puppy. Salinas also owns Oceanside Puppy.
Animal activists have been outside of Salina’s Oceanside pet store twice a week with protest signs. Salinas said they dress in devil costumes and wear a mask of his face.
He added that protesters have gotten out of control. One of his employees was injured when a protester lunged at her and cut her arm while taking signs out of her hand.
Salinas said he is following all laws.
“Our breeders follow regulations of federal and state standards,” Salinas said. “We do not work with breeders who are in direct violation. If they are direct violators we cut them off.”
Salinas said puppies sold from his pet store are dewormed, have shots and are checked by a veterinarian. Prospective pet owners can research the history of each dog on the store’s computers.
“We abide by the puppy lemon law and pay 120 percent if a vet bill is incurred verses if you buy a dog from a shelter; you get no warranty from a shelter,” Salinas said.
“I have the right as a citizen to run a legal business,” Salinas added. “I put blood, sweat and tears into this business.”
Another group involved in the San Diego and Oceanside ban is the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, which operates in San Diego and Oceanside.
City Council heard from more than 40 speakers on the item.
Animal activists spoke about the atrocious conditions of puppy mills where a mother dog spends her entire life in a small cage with little room to move and receives minimal care.
hey stressed poor breeding and raising conditions lead to dogs that have health problems and are unsocial.
Speakers brought home their point with pictures of puppy mills.
Rebekah Snyder, of Oceanside, said USDA standards that regulate dog breeders in Montana, who supply puppies to the Hunte Corporation puppy broker, who in turn supply puppies to Oceanside Puppy, do not have standards for the temperature dogs are kept in and only require the cage to be six inches taller than the dog.
Mike Stolkey of the Hunte Corporation, said the corporation is an industry leader in animal welfare.
“We’re a licensed provider of top of the line breeders, not those depicted in pictures you see there (shown by animal activists),” Stolkey said. “We adhere to all animal welfare laws.”
Stolkey said the corporation sends out trained technicians to visit breeders to ensure animals are bred in humane conditions and are well treated.
“There are substandard breeders and responsible breeders,” Stolkey said. “We work as hard as we can to separate the good from the bad.”
Animal supporters added that animal rescue groups are not all run well and should not have the monopoly on pet sales. Speakers pointed out that some rescue groups adopt out ill animals.
“We do not support puppy mills,” Cathy Kelly of San Diego, said. “They do exist and are awful. It is my constitutional right to have a pet. Don’t force us to buy pets from shelters.”
Councilmen Jerry Kern, Gary Felien and Jack Feller said they did not have enough information to make a decision and voted no to drafting an ordinance to ban dog sales.
Felien proposed that interested parties get together with the city manager and define “puppy mill” and “reputable breeder” before a ban is drafted.
He emphasized he did not want different standards for pet stores and rescue groups.
His suggestion did not change Sanchez’s motion.
“I can not support this tonight,” Kern said “Everybody wants responsible pet ownership. We don’t need another ordinance in California.”
Mayor Jim Wood and Sanchez voted to support the ban.
Vista Councilman Cody Campbell was in the audience. He said he is considering recommending a ban on pet store dog sales in Vista.