CARLSBAD — Less than a month after implementing an emergency ordinance banning the retail sale of cats and dogs within the city, council members repealed the ban in light of more information.
When the ordinance first came before the Council on Oct. 8, council members agreed that they needed more information about state and federal oversight of pet stores and the background of Carlsbad’s only pet store, California Pets, before making a decision.
The ban was sponsored by the Humane Society and designed to prevent the sale of cats and dogs that have been mass-produced in sub-standard breeding facilities across the country, according to a city report.
The ordinance would have banned the retail sale of cats and dogs, prohibited other pet stores from opening in Carlsbad, and prevented California Pets from expanding or relocating within the city.
The ban would have encouraged pet seekers to consider adopting animals from local shelters.
At the initial meeting, Council members Keith Blackburn, Farrah Douglas and Lorraine Wood considered testimony from several residents urging the city to support the ban to stop the sale of animals from “puppy mills” and “kitten factories.”
The council members agreed to enact an emergency ordinance to prevent more retail pet stores from trying to open new locations within the city before a decision on the ordinance was made.
Fiona Everett, the public information officer for the Carlsbad Police Department, and Harold Holmes, deputy director of San Diego County Animal Services, came back before council on Nov. 5, to explain how retail pet stores and animal breeders are regulated by the state and federal government.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Act sets care standards for dealers of animals bred for commercial sale and the state regulates the care standards for animals in retail stores under the Pet Protection Act.
Contrary to public comments made at the Oct. 8 meeting, California Pets has never been cited by the Department of Animal Services and does not have a significant history of substantiated complaints or civil cases against the store, according to Everett.
Douglas said that after researching the claims made against California Pets, “I found out that the testimonials that we received were not true.”
“It’s not the pet stores that are the trouble makers, it’s the breeders out of state,” she added.
Council voted 3-2 against the retail dog and cat sales ban, with Mayor Matt Hall, Mayor Pro Tem Mark Packard, and Douglas opposing the ban.