SAN MARCOS — The San Marcos City Council took a similar step as several North County cities Tuesday night when it enacted a temporary ban on retail pet stores.
The City Council voted unanimously to enact 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.
The 45-day moratorium can be extended by 10 months, and then by another year, as the City Council explores the possibility of a permanent ban of the pet stores, which 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.”
San Diego and Chula Vista already ban the operations. Oceanside might adopt a permanent ban before its temporary measures expire.
Stores in both Westfield mall locations in North County have closed in recent months.
The prohibition does not apply to businesses already licensed and operating, so the pet store that prompted the council’s action will not be affected.
David Salinas, who opened Mini Toy Puppies in the shopping center off of Nordahl Road about a month ago, also operates a store in Oceanside that is on the verge of closing after officials there enacted a similar pet-store ban.
He spoke at Tuesday’s meeting and urged San Marcos officials to not take the same step.
More than a dozen people spoke during the meeting, many who spoke against puppy mills and urged city officials to not only ban the stores permanently, but to take steps to shut Salinas’ business down.