Due to reported abuses at commercial dog breeding facilities, better known as “puppy mills,” the council this week joined the cities of Irvine and Dana Point by prohibiting the retail sale of cats and dogs. No stores in the city currently sell pets.
The number of pets exterminated at animal shelters from lack of adoption, and the inhumane practices of procreation used at large breeding facilities prompted the city to agree to pass an “anti-puppy mill” law to the approval of more than 40 people at the meeting supporting the cause.
Most of the mass-produced pets come from the Midwest and from large home-based operations in Southern California, said Judie Mancuso, animal welfare advocate. “Some are bred until they are sterile and then killed after they no longer can reproduce,” she said. “We want to encourage people to adopt pets from shelters and rescue groups.”
Matthew Wheaton, a lifelong resident and veterinarian, said heavy in-breeding, anxiety, genetic defects and disease are rampant in factory-farmed pets. “I’ve had thousands of pet-store dogs as patients,” Wheaton said. Ninety percent, he added, have problems. “Most of the general public are blissfully unaware of the origins of their cute pet-store puppy. The public that knows where pet stores’ dogs and cats come from would never purchase a pet from that store,” he commented.
“I want you to know that my husband has calculated that there are more dogs in this town than children,” quipped Mayor Jane Egly.