San Marcos extends retail pet shop ban

SAN MARCOS — San Marcos officials have extended a ban on retail pet stores for 10 months, as it crafts more permanent regulations of the stores.

The City Council voted 5-0 during a special meeting on June 12 to extend the urgency ordinance that was first adopted in April 2015 to April 2016.

The City Council could at that time extend it for another year, but city spokeswoman Sarah MacDonald said the council indicated it would probably not do so.

The City Council originally enacted a moratorium on the stores in the wake of a pet store opening up in a commercial center on Nordahl Road, owned by a man who prompted a similar moratorium in Oceanside.

Retail pet stores have come under increased scrutiny in recent years by animal rights activists who allege the retailers are selling animals bred at so-called “puppy mills.”

Seven people spoke at Friday’s meeting, with four people — all with pet store ties — speaking in opposition to the ban and three others speaking in support of it. Pet store representatives presented a series of presentations showing information about financing, warranties, the store’s procurement practices and information about the USDA’s rules regulating puppy providers.

Owner David Salinas told the council that the pet shop did not procure pets from any breeders associated with the Hunte Corporation, a commercial puppy broker that has come under fire from regulators and consumer activists for their role in the puppy mill industry.

Salinas, who opened Mini Toy Puppies in the shopping center off of Nordahl Road in March, also operates a store in Oceanside that is on the verge of closing after officials there enacted a similar pet-store ban.

San Diego and Chula Vista already ban the operations. Oceanside might adopt a permanent ban before its temporary measures expire.

Pet stores in both Westfield mall locations in North County closed earlier this year.

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