New council majority takes action to ban puppy mill dog sales

New council majority takes action to ban puppy mill dog sales
Protestors against puppy mills have been outside of Oceanside Puppy since it opened. The City Council gave direction to draft an ordinance banning puppy mills at its Dec. 3 meeting. File photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside City Council took the first step to ban puppy mill dog and cat sales in 3-1-1 vote, which gave direction to draft an ordinance at the Dec 3 meeting.

New regulations will ban the sale of dogs and cats that are not born and reared on the premise where they are sold, with the exemption of shelter and rescue animals.

This stops the sale of mass bred dogs and cats sold through a wholesale distributor.

Mass breeding facilities, often-called puppy mills, are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Minimum federal requirements allow a dog to have two litters within 18 months, and be housed in a cage they can stand in. Many view these allowable practices as inhumane.

Sixteen California cities, including San Diego, have passed ordinances to ban puppy mill dog sales, and minimize the market for mass breed dogs and cats.

Oceanside considered a ban in September 2013, but proposed regulations did not receive enough support.

The ordinance was reintroduced on Dec. 3 at the first meeting Councilman Chuck Lowery held office.

In an interview prior to the meeting, Lowery said his support for a ban on puppy mill dog sales during the election season resonated with many voters, and helped him to win his seat over incumbent Gary Felien.

“It came up every day,” Lowery said.

“They’re totally abusive operations. Female dogs are in the state of breeding all the time. They don’t maintain the facilities.

“Abusing animals is not appropriate.”

Re-elected Councilman Jerry Kern cast the no vote against a ban. Councilman Jack Feller abstained.

Kern said public comments at the meeting were one-sided.

“People have the right to buy what they want to buy,” Kern said. “It’s a regulated legal product.”

Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez have stood in favor of a ban since Oceanside Puppy opened over a year ago.

The pet store sells dogs obtained through the Hunte Corporation, an animal wholesaler that supplies 90,000 dogs to stores across the U.S. annually.

Animal rights supporters have protested outside Oceanside Puppy every weekend since the store opened.

Speakers at the meeting said posted breeder information at the pet store shows that dogs supplied by the Hunte Corporation were bred by Missouri mass breeders who have been sited for violations.

Oceanside Puppy owner David Salinas has previously confirmed that some breeders had indirect violations that were corrected.

Speakers said due to the minimal breeding requirements, indirect violations should not be tolerated.

“If you have a heart you have to realize this is not acceptable conditions for a humane country,” Laurie Michaels, of Encinitas, said.

There were also complaints about Salinas’ business practices that include high interest loans, and leasing options on dogs. Speakers said Salinas targets young military families in neighboring Camp Pendleton with luring advertisements for dogs they cannot afford, and that end up sick.

The proposed ordinance will not close Oceanside Puppy, or affect small-scale breeders. If passed, regulations would ban sales of dogs and cats obtained through wholesale distributors, and likely allow a six-month amortization period for the pet store.

The City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance Jan. 7.

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