Council moves to ban retail pet sales

Ethical breeders, rescue operations and the animal shelter would not be affected.

May 03, 2012|By Barbara Diamond

No one will be asking "How much is that doggy in the window?" if a new regulation goes into effect.

The City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to an ordinance that bans the retail sale of dogs and cats in Laguna. Ethical breeders, commercial rescue operations and the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, which charges for adoptions, will not be affected, city officials said.

"Nobody in this room would admit to encouraging the abuse of animals," said veterinarian Matthew Wheaton. "Yet I believe some in this room and certainly many in our community would consider buying the cute 'puppy in the window' if they were looking to bring in a new member of their family — until they were aware that the parents of these puppies from pet stores were to spend their entire lives in a small cage producing multiple litters of puppies before being discarded like a pair of old shoes."


Such offspring are called "puppy mill dogs."

Resident George Heed said animals deserve to have a home and the proposed restriction sounded obstructive to him.

"I would like to see Laguna Beach be more open to securing a home for these animals," Heed said.

Animal activist Judie Mancuso said the restrictions are simply a codification of what the city has been doing. Local pet shops do not sell puppy mill dogs, and she wants to keep it that way.

"They want to come here," she said.

Wheaton said prohibiting stores in town from tricking unknowing people into purchasing these puppies or kittens that contribute to the ongoing suffering of the parents of these youngsters can make a real difference in the lives of many animals.

"As a lifelong resident of Laguna Beach and a veterinarian, I am very proud of my town showing themselves to be compassionate and caring," Wheaton said.

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