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Supporters and opponents of a pet store ordinance hold up signs during Tuesday’s council meeting, while former San Diego County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price speaks in support of the ban. The City Council approved the ban, 5-0.
Carlsbad Carlsbad Featured Community

Carlsbad passes pet retail store ordinance

CARLSBAD — After nearly two-and-half hours of public comment, the City Council unanimously approved a ban on the purchase of commercially bred pets by retail stores Tuesday.

An overflow crowd packed the council chambers as supporters and opponents of the ban went back and forth voicing their concerns with commercially bred pets and stores such as Carlsbad Pets, the only one in the city to sell from commercial breeders.

The ordinance, however, must be adopted next week before going into effect 30 days later.

Mirroring a similar ordinance in Oceanside, the Carlsbad ordinance will become effective in six months to allow pet stores to make the necessary adjustments.

“There are other pet store models without selling dogs, cats and rabbits,” Councilwoman Lorraine Wood said.

The council approved a measure in 2013, but reversed its decision several weeks later. This time, however, the wave of momentum from residents and others from as far as Pasadena took hold on the council.

Councilman Mark Packard, who voted against the ban in the 2013 reversal, said the information from several experts eventually led to his decision to support the ban.

However, Packard said it was difficult as he does not want to oppose small businesses, but the measure in which the animals are housed, bred and treated was too much to overcome.

“There are two competing values, business rights and animal protection,” he added. “I’ve seen enough evidence to support the protection of animals.”

Councilmen Keith Blackburn and Michael Schumacher met with parties from both sides and said they must do what they can to protect animals.

Blackburn said he disagreed with the free enterprise argument in this case, noting the city has banned such establishments as strip clubs, X-rated stores and medical marijuana dispensaries.

Numerous supporters of the ban turned their ire toward Carlsbad Pets, making claims the store has haphazard practices and unhealthy animals. Those supporters also said the issue is one of consumer protection against stores that do not disclose aspects of their animals and financing.

Several opponents of the ban, meanwhile, presented slideshows detailing Carlsbad Pets’ dedication to selling quality animals that are healthy and happy.

Jasmine Ramirez, a manager at the store, said the business visited its breeders recently and those animals were housed with care and were healthy. In addition, she said their breeders make sure the dogs are socialized, registered with the American Kennel Club and do not do business with such companies as the Hunte Corporation, which has come under fire from animals rights groups.

Ramirez countered claims of doing business with the corporation, showing how the Carlsbad store rejected an offer to sell Hunte’s puppies.

She also blasted claims stemming from video taken of a truck from the Hunte Corporation delivering dogs to a North County location.

“It wasn’t us,” Ramirez said.

Several county experts and activists cited reports criticizing puppy mills and their inhumane treatment of dogs and cats. Those animals, the experts said, are forced to breed up to two to three times per year, while the United States Department of Agriculture, who oversees the enforcement, has inadequate resources to keep pace with such breeders.

According to a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Carlsbad Pets has closed its location in the former Carlsbad mall just one day after the council’s decision.


humanitarian May 6, 2016 at 8:45 am

George, The definition of “pets” in the ban refers to dogs cats and rabbits bred in commercial facilities or as I prefer to call them “factories”. You sound like a very nice person George.

Dru May 5, 2016 at 2:28 pm

This comment is to sincerely thank the Mayor and Council members for doing the right thing. If anyone has any doubt about how necessary this is, just google puppy mills and see what comes up. It’s a matter of doing the humane thing with souls that can’t protect themselves. Children, elderly and animals. There are so many reputable breeders in California. No one ever needs to buy a puppy mill puppy. The council recognized this, and that with enough cities banning this, we may wipe out all puppy mills someday. A Big thank you to Ms. Woods and Mr. Blackburn for working so hard to join the other cities in California and our county to pass this ban. We need compassionate people like these on our council.
Thank all five of you so much,

George May 5, 2016 at 1:18 pm

What’s their definition of a pet? How about a pet fish? Most pet fish are bred, does that mean they can”t be sold in Carlsbad? How about a Coral, A large percentage are either commercially bred/cultured or bred/cultured by hobbyist. These Zealots should not be listened to.

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