ESCONDIDO — Two pet stores, including one in Escondido, were issued temporary restraining orders on June 3 by San Diego County Superior Court Judge Eddie Sturgeon to stop selling puppies.
The ruling comes after Broadway Puppies in Escondido and Pups & Pets in Santee were recently cited by San Diego Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement for illegally selling puppies that were sourced from puppy mills.
Both stores were issued multiple citations for violations of failing to partner with a rescue that has a valid cooperative agreement with at least one public or private shelter, as cited in Health and Safety Code, section 122354.5 of AB 485, which is California’s ban on the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits.
The lawsuit was filed by attorney Bryan Pease, who is representing several customers, as well as nonprofit organizations Animal Protection and Rescue League, Companion Animal Protection Society and Not One Animal Harmed.
Pease said that the stores, which are both owned by David Salinas, have been fraudulently labeling puppy mill puppies as “rescues” to evade California law against selling non-rescue dogs in pet shops.
Humane Law Enforcement Chief Bill Ganley told The Coast News that he hopes the public can learn from this case because the health and safety of these animals depend on it.
“The goal of AB 485 and a new proposed law that we’re backing, AB 2152, is to stop this stuff from happening,” Ganley said. “The message we hope the public receives from this is to adopt from shelters if you can. If there’s a specific breed that you want, go to a reputable breeder. Don’t buy from retail stores because they ship puppies in from out-of-state, large-scale operations and you don’t know the history of that animal.”
The judge’s ruling also requires Missouri-based Pet Connect Rescue, Inc., which is a fake rescue brokering puppies from puppy mills and has allegedly been providing puppies to the two pet stores, to stop doing business in California unless in compliance with California law, according to Pease.
A sign currently posted on the door of Broadway Puppies in Escondido says that the store is “temporarily closed.”
George Najjar, the attorney representing Salinas, said that both stores will comply with the order until the next court date, which is June 18. At that time, they will attempt to show why the order should not remain in effect until the rest of the lawsuit is heard.
Pet Connect Rescue, Inc. could not be reached for comment.