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Kahoots, the only pet store in Solana Beach, will have six months to comply with a proposal regulating the sale of commercially bred animals. But the impacts should be minimal because the store sells mainly pet supplies and rabbits, not dogs or cats. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek
Community Community Featured Lead Story Solana Beach

Solana Beach latest to regulate puppy mills

SOLANA BEACH — Solana Beach is the latest city to regulate the sale of commercially bred pets, directing staff at the May 25 meeting to create an ordinance banning pet stores from selling dogs, cats and bunnies that come from “puppy mills,” “kitten factories” and “rabbit mills.”

The Humane Society of the United States defines such establishments as inhumane, commercial breeding facilities in which the health of the animals is disregarded to maintain low overhead and maximize profits.

Animals born and raised in these mills and factories are more likely to have genetic disorders and lack adequate socialization, according to the staff report.

Additionally, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals claims that animals used for breeding at the facilities may be subject to inhumane housing conditions, the report states.

In 1966 Congress passed the Animal Welfare Act, which outlines specific minimum standards of care for dogs, cats and other types of animals bred for commercial resale.

Under the AWA, certain large-scale commercial breeders are required to be licensed and regularly inspected by the Department of Agriculture, but according to the Humane Society website there are many inefficiencies and loopholes in the system.

Only large-scale commercial facilities that breed or broker animals for resale to pet stores or sell puppies sight-unseen, such as over the internet, are required to be licensed and inspected because they are considered “wholesale” operations.

Those that sell directly to the public face-to-face are not required to adhere to the Animal Welfare Act or to any federal humane care standards.

Inspection records obtained by the Humane Society show that many USDA-licensed breeders get away with repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

According to the Humane Society, violators are rarely fined and their licenses are rarely suspended.

“Facilities with long histories of repeated violations for basic care conditions are often allowed to renew their licenses again and again,” the agency’s website states.

Solana Beach received more than 30 emails from people urging council members to adopt the ban, which was being discussed at the request of Councilwoman Lesa Heebner.

Another half dozen addressed council with the same request during the public comment period. There were no comments opposing a ban.

“This isn’t just a city issue, but a humane one that concerns all of us who care about the welfare of animals,” said Laurie Michaels, a resident of Encinitas, which recently adopted a similar ban.

“The very existence of a store that makes money from breeders that mass-produce dogs in a world that is already highly overpopulated is a moral abomination,” Rebecca Snyder, a 15-year military member, said.

“I urge you to be very careful with the wording to prevent any loopholes,” Solana Beach resident Vicki Cypherd said.  “Just keep it really simple. The bottom line is I don’t want to see the sale of any dogs, cats or rabbits in Solana Beach.”

The new law, which will be presented for adoption at upcoming meetings, will be modeled after an ordinance recently authorized in San Marcos.

There will be a six-month grace period to allow Kahoots, the only pet store in Solana Beach, to comply.

A store employee said Kahoots sells mainly pet supplies and rabbits and no dogs or cats. The business does hold pet adoptions, which will continue to be allowed under the proposed ordinance.

At press time, phone calls to the Kahoots headquarters in Ramona for comment were not returned.

Animals that come from publicly operated shelters, animal control enforcement agencies and nonprofit rescue organizations can be sold or adopted.

The Solana Beach ordinance will be more restrictive than the one in San Marcos and other nearby cities such as Carlsbad and Oceanside because it will prohibit the sale of animals from private, hobby or noncommercial breeders and those born and reared on premise.

“It’s truly stomach-turning and disgusting,” Councilman Peter Zahn said. “I think we have a moral and legal obligation to really make sure that this doesn’t happen in our town. … I’m pretty much in line with being more restrictive rather than less restrictive.”


jan June 4, 2016 at 7:28 pm

There are so many inaccuracies in this article. The author has obviously does no research other than to graduate from Google U.
Dear Bianca,Can you please explain what this paragraph means?
“The Solana Beach ordinance will be more restrictive than the one in San Marcos and other nearby cities such as Carlsbad and Oceanside because it will prohibit the sale of animals from private, hobby or noncommercial breeders and those born and reared on premise.” What?

jan June 4, 2016 at 8:52 am

“It’s truly stomach-turning and disgusting,” Councilman Peter Zahn said. “I think we have a moral and legal obligation to really make sure that this doesn’t happen in our town. … I’m pretty much in line with being more restrictive rather than less restrictive.”
Dear Councilman you know what is truly stomach turning and disgusting? Elected officials who do not bother to do their homework on issues and think they are morally superior and have no problem saying so. Officials who believe whatever garbage is shoved down their throats by groups with agendas like the HSUS and their ilk ..but especially… Officials that actually say out loud that they prefer restricting freedoms than granting them. that, Mr Zahn is what is stomach turning and disgusting

Verjean June 3, 2016 at 8:03 pm

Why is it that rescue organizations or shelters are given a monopoly on the pet trade in our communities? These are unregulated businesses that often import animals from far-away states, or even foreign countries to supply the demand for pets within a community. WITH ZERO REGULATION. And some are making significant amounts of cash/profits which are also NOT taxed. Shelter and rescue dogs have no known backgrounds…health, temperament, or otherwise…but there doesn’t seem to be ANY problem selling them to the public. And without citations, I’m not given to believing that animals purchased from pet stores are MORE likely to have genetic disorders and inadequate socialization…than a shelter dog. This is a classic straw man argument. Dogs sold through shelters have NO history. And because of the stringent and onerous MSN ordinances in place in our communities, most breeders are opting out of breeding. The licensing procedures, the costs, the invasive home checks…are simply too much for many breeders to take on. So, who will produce our pets in the future? Animal activists will lament that approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized in shelters annually…but what they won’t tell you is that almost 75% of those are feral cats…which are not a high priority on a family’s “wish” list of pets. And even then, does the local shelter offer TNR (Trap, neuter, release) or offer “barn home” placements? Or do they just have a policy of euthanizing feral cats, so that the kill statistics can be kept artificially bloated? But even taking that 2.7 million into account…the American Pet Products Manufacturer’s Association, which conducts one of the most highly respected pet surveys in the country, and which HSUS uses for much of their statistical foundation…says that in any given year, between 18 and 25 million American homes are looking for a pet. MORE than enough for the 2.7 million that are euthanized in shelters… And what about the other 15 to 22 million homes that would remain AFTER the 2.7 million were placed in homes? Where do they come from? And that 2.7%? It reflects a whopping 1.5% of all owned animals…less than 2% of all owned animals in this country (and that’s assuming these shelter dogs were ever “owned”…) are euthanasia statistics. Unacceptable, sure…but not the tsunami of unwanted animals that the activists would have you believe are the result of irresponsible owners. For the most part, owners in this country DO A GREAT JOB, by their pets. Less than 2%… You see, the numbers just don’t work. The same APPMA survey also tells us that 93% of all “owned” cats (those that people claim as animals they provide food, shelter, healthcare, etc…for) ARE sterilized. And 87% of all “owned” dogs. We have done a fabulous job in this country of getting the word out on “spay and neuter”…but reality tells us you can’t neuter and spay 100%, or there will be NO animals. In actuality, you need healthy and diverse gene pools from which to breed, and with only a 7% and 13% intact population, that diversity is being lost, and resulting in, yep…you guessed it, the very issues that you are attempting to eliminate. By continuing to shrink these gene pools through MSN and onerous breeder regulation, you are, at the very least contributing significantly to the problem…and we are already dangerously close to the edge of cliff in many breeds to extinction. In addition, the scientific research that has been conducted over the past decade, and continues to pour in…demonstrates that spaying and neutering our pets comes at a cost to their health and longevity. Especially if they are sterilized before they are mature. So we are legislating that owners be forced to obtain procedures which actually endanger their animals. And they, as owners have no right to make decisions regarding their property. And in many cases, it is not in the best interest of the animal. So what is it that we are attempting to do in our communities? It certainly doesn’t seem to be about the animals. And it certainly doesn’t seem to be about the rights of your citizens. But it does seem like a GREAT scheme for shelters and rescues…and it has a name…RETAIL RESCUE. Might want to check it out.

Julie Ward June 3, 2016 at 7:39 pm

The scare tactics used by AR agenda folks that are pushing these kinds of legislation are gross misrepresentations. Yes, there was a time when puppies were produced commercially in horrible conditions. There was also a time in the US when children worked in textile mills. Thankfully, those conditions have changed. USDA licensed breeders are regulated and have strict rules about conditions and care. To see city after city legislate away the freedom of choice as to where and how we obtain our pets saddens me. If you chose to obtain your next puppy from a shelter or rescue, good for you, but if I prefer to buy a purebred puppy that should be mine choice. I should NOT be dictated by elected officials that are in bed with animal rights fanatics.

jan June 3, 2016 at 7:03 pm

“I urge you to be very careful with the wording to prevent any loopholes,” Solana Beach resident Vicki Cypherd said. “Just keep it really simple. The bottom line is I don’t want to see the sale of any dogs, cats or rabbits in Solana Beach.” well then so be it All of you will be petless because Vicki wants it to be so.. unless you get a free kitten in the back of Wal mart or a black market dog from across the border..geez the idiocy of some people it boggles the mind

al smith June 3, 2016 at 6:06 pm

Here’s an idea.. let them sell “meat dogs” the ones the HSUS spends thousands on brining rom Korea and Chine in order to dup the public and spread lies about USA breeders a few “meat dogs” that weigh 150 pounds and have no known background of temperament or health issues should be just the ticket for a finally don’t you think? No “meat dogs” with Asian Canine Flu for you? well then how about 4 week old pups from Mexico smuggled in with parvo.. those should be “hot sellers”.. not for you? well then how about a dog from Egypt with rabies.. yup rescues brought those in too No genetic disorders there .. right? no aggression or temperament problems there right? but HSUS has sucked your reporter in.. you call this journalism? go back to school .. grammar school.. bad reporting lies and innuendo..Bianca graduate from the school of Google U

Geneva Coats June 3, 2016 at 2:52 pm

First of all, there is no LEGAL definition for “puppy/kitten/rabbit mill.” The term is a derogatory slur by Animal Wrongists who are ultimately opposed to any sort of animal use, whether it be pets, dairy, eggs, meat, fishing, hunting, circuses, zoos, and aquariums. These people are dangerous nuts who fly in the face of reality and wish to force their moral agenda on others. They live in a fantasy world.
“Animals born and raised in these mills and factories are more likely to have genetic disorders and lack adequate socialization, according to the staff report.”
Really? Where are the studies to support such outrageous assertions? And shelter-acquired dogs and cats with unknown histories and health status, and NO health guarantees, are supposedly less likely to have genetic disorders and lack socialization? Not likely. Instead you will have dogs trucked up from Mexico by the thousands to fill the demand for pets. These dogs will be infected with disease and infested with parasites….not the least of which is RABIES, a fatal condition. This has already happened too many times to count.
Your staff report is fabricated by liars with an agenda.

Clu Carradine June 3, 2016 at 2:34 pm

“A store employee said Kahoots sells mainly pet supplies and rabbits and no dogs or cats. The business does hold pet adoptions, which will continue to be allowed under the proposed ordinance.”

So, it’s OK to sell animals f unknown background, supplied by “rescue” for resale, but not animals with known backgrounds and medical records from licensed, regulated breeders? In whose world does this make any logical sense?

Right…it makes sense in the world of tax-exempt resellers calling themselves “rescue” who want a complete monopoly on pet sales. They show up with animals for sale, calling it an “adoption event” (BTW, children are adopted…animals are bought and sold) to get customers in the door for the pet stores. The rescue pockets the tax-free income, and the pet store sells the food and supplies for the new owner buying the pet. The pet store doesn’t have to house, feed or pick up after the animals, as they are brought by the reseller. Everyone wins except the public, which has now had all its choices removed by halo-polishers and those with vested interests in maintaining and solidifying their tax-exempt monopoly on pet sales. The only place for a family to find their next pet is at the shelter, from a reseller, or a rescue. No longer will people be able to choose a breeder or a purebred pet; it’s either an animal of unknown origins, health status and background or nothing. If a Bully breed or Chihuahua mix isn’t what’s right for your family, too bad…because that’s what’s on sale and all the breeders have been outlawed and chased out of California.

This is the heart of this type of legislation: it’s initially driven by those who want to eliminate all breeders and breeding of purebred pets, and is carried forth by resellers who want a monopoly on sales. It is ultimately down to money and control of other people’s choices, period.

Mark June 3, 2016 at 2:27 pm

The article says”Those that sell directly to the public face-to-face are not required to adhere to the Animal Welfare Act or to any federal humane care standards.”

Since that is the case, hy wil shelters continue to be able to offer dogs for adoption at the store? USDA considers an adoption to be a sale, and shelters also conduct face to face sales and are not subject to the Animal Welfare Act. So you have just created a loophole for a group that has no oversight or care and offers dogs from unknown and non reulated sources.

Jerrie Wolfe June 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm

USDA Licensed breeders do not have the conditions listed above, yes the unlicensed breeders may have those conditions, but it is the unlicensed breeders who are also supplying puppies and older dogs to rescues. Not For Profit rescues are asking for donations so they can purchase dogs for the very same breeders your new regulations are trying to shut down!

“The Phenomenon called “Retail Rescue”
Movement and sales of dogs through “rescue channels” continues to explode. While more and more cities and states are restricting sales of dogs in pet stores to those obtained from animal shelters and rescue groups, the actual source of these dogs remains obscure. Yet, there is mounting evidence that movement through “rescue channels” includes individuals or organizations involved merely for the profit, hence the name “Retail Rescue.” The dogs may be coming from the very same unscrupulous dog breeders these laws are intended to put out of business.

Not many states track the importation of dogs for adoption into their states, but those that do, shed some light on the enormity of this issue.

In 2012[1]

7,450 rescue dogs were imported into New Hampshire
15,000 dogs were imported into Connecticut through “rescue channels”
90,000 dogs were received in Colorado
130,000 dogs were received in Virginia
The numbers from New Hampshire and Connecticut represent dogs imported through rescue channels.

In Colorado, of the 90,000 dogs received, 12,600 were received from outside Colorado, representing dogs entering the state through “rescue channels.” The remainder includes 24,000 dogs returned to shelters, 8,600 transferred between shelters in Colorado, and other movement in and out of the state.

In Virginia, 16,800 of the 130,000 dogs received appear to be rescues, but movement of dogs within and out of the state are not well monitored.

Why are all these dogs moving through these rescue channels?

People continue to want to buy dogs, particularly puppies, but have been convinced that pet stores sell dogs that receive substandard care from commercial breeders collectively called “puppy mills.” Thinking they are saving these dogs, the public is increasingly backing laws banning sales of pure-bred commercially sourced dogs, and permitting only sales from animal shelters and rescue groups.

Notably, the overpopulation of dogs in many parts of the U.S., particularly the north east, has been curtailed by effective spay-neuter programs in these states. Therefore, to provide puppies and dogs to the public, seeking to purchase pets through rescue channels, these animals have to be imported from other states and countries.

Some commercial breeders deserve the name “puppy mills” and should be closed down. Others do not. Many rescue groups are trying to do the right thing. Others are only in it for the money, often buying dogs from the very same puppy mills.

Profits in “Retail Rescue,” particularly involving dogs, are likely to increase exponentially. More than 35 cities and at least 2 states, Connecticut and Illinois, have adopted or have considered banning the sale of dogs obtained through commercial breeders, and limiting sales to those sourced through rescues or shelters.

There are several animal health and consumer-related problems associated with the unregulated movement of dogs through Retail Rescue channels:

The source of the rescue dogs may be from the same “puppy mills” owners are trying to avoid, or from other breeders providing substandard care for the dogs;
Dog breeding through these channels will not only continue at current levels, but is likely to increase, if the market favors sales of rescue dogs;
Federal regulations over commercial breeders may not apply to these breeders;
“Puppy lemon laws” which many states use to protect consumers sold dogs with infectious and/or inherited diseases and disorders do not apply to rescue/shelter dogs, so consumers are without recourse when treating their newly purchased dogs, often purchased sight unseen and with no medical history;
Dogs imported from other states and/or countries may be infected with transmissible diseases or parasites that endanger their health and the health of other animals they come in contact with;
Punishing retail pet stores for unscrupulous dog breeders unreasonably harms these businesses, and will not eliminate the problem at its source;
Pet owners who prefer to purchase a pure-bred dog, for their known physical and behavioural characteristics, will have increasingly limited options.
Some states, in addition to tracking the movement of dogs into, within, and out of their states for adoption, have taken action to help ensure animals are healthy and owners do not unknowingly purchase sick, infected dogs.

Connecticut has initiated a crackdown on “adoptions” taking place at parking lots throughout the state;
New Hampshire requires any dog, cat, or ferret entering the state for sale or adoption, to be held for at least 48 hours at a state licensed animal health facility or veterinary practice, separated from other animals before the sale, where at least some illnesses can be diagnosed and treated.
Out of increasing concern about the spread of rabies from infected dogs imported from rabies-endemic countries, the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (“NASPHV”) recently recommended that the CDC revise and expand its current animal importation regulations “to reduce the risk of introduction of zoonotic diseases, particularly rabies, into the U.S.”

According to NASPHV, over 287,000 dogs were imported into the US in 2006, many with falsified or inadequate animal health documentation. At least 25% of those dogs were too young to be vaccinated for rabies. To protect animal and human heath NASPHV recommends, in part:

Dogs, cats, and ferrets should be at least 6 months of age prior to importation into the U.S.;
Proof of rabies vaccination should accompany imported dogs, cats, and ferrets;
Permanent identification of these animals should be required and a national electronic database established to track their movement;
The imported dogs, cats, and ferrets should be quarantined for a minimum of 30 days.
These measures would help prevent the exposure of U.S. pets and humans to rabies or other zoonotic diseases.

Some of these controls, even if modified, should be considered for dogs moving through rescue channels to help ensure their proper care, and prevent the spread of disease. A closer look at the source and movement of dogs through “rescue channels” must be part of the overall initiative to protect the health and well being of dogs sold in the U.S.”

Elizabeth Brinkley June 2, 2016 at 7:44 pm

10 Things You Should Know About HSUS

1. HSUS raises millions of dollars from American animal lovers through manipulative advertising. An analysis of HSUS’s TV fundraising determined that more than 85 percent of the animals shown were cats and dogs. However, HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter and only gives 1 percent of the money it raises to pet shelters while sucking money out of local communities.

2. HSUS’s own donors and local shelters feel wronged. A poll of self-identified HSUS donors found 80 percent thought HSUS “misleads people” about their connections to pet shelters and 75 percent were less likely to support the group when they found out the truth. And according to a poll of animal shelters most agree that “HSUS misleads people into thinking it is associated with local animal shelters.”

3. HSUS puts more into its pension plan and Caribbean hedge funds than it gives to pet shelters. Between 2012 and 2014, HSUS put over $100 million in Caribbean investments while also putting nearly $10 million into its pension plan.

4. While it raises money with pictures of cats and dogs, HSUS has an anti-meat vegan agenda. Speaking to an animal rights conference in 2006, HSUS’s then-vice president for farm animal issues stated that HSUS’s goal is to “get rid of the entire [animal agriculture] industry” and that “we don’t want any of these animals to be raised and killed.”

5. In May 2014, HSUS was part of a $15.75 million settlement of a federal racketeering lawsuit. Feld Entertainment sued HSUS, two of its in-house lawyers, and others under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for bribery, obstruction of justice, fraud, and other torts. Court documents indicate that HSUS sent several checks as part of an alleged witness-payment scheme.

6. HSUS’s senior management includes others who have voiced support for terroristic acts. HSUS chief policy officer Mike Markarian has written that “A perfect example of effective rebellion is an Animal Liberation Front raid on a laboratory.” HSUS food policy director Matt Prescott, meanwhile, has written that “I also believe in the actions of the ALF and other such groups.” (Prescott is a former PETA activist.)

7. HSUS’s senior management includes a former spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a criminal group designated as “terrorists” by the FBI. HSUS president Wayne Pacelle hired John “J.P.” Goodwin in 1997, the same year Goodwin described himself as “spokesperson for the ALF” while he fielded media calls in the wake of an ALF arson attack at a California meat processing plant. In 1997, when asked by reporters for a reaction to an ALF arson fire at a farmer’s feed co-op in Utah (which nearly killed a family sleeping on the premises), Goodwin replied, “We’re ecstatic.”

8. HSUS receives poor charity-evaluation marks. CharityWatch (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy) has issued several “D” ratings for HSUS in recent years over the group’s wasteful spending practices. Additionally, the 2013 Animal People News Watchdog Report discovered that HSUS spends 55 percent of its budget on overhead costs.

9. HSUS’s CEO endorsed convicted dogfighting kingpin Michael Vick getting another pet. After Vick got out of prison, HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle told the press that he thought Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.” This startling comment came after Vick’s new employer, the Philadelphia Eagle, made a $50,000 “grant” to HSUS.

10. Given the massive size of its budget, HSUS does relatively little hands-on care for animals. While HSUS claims it “saves” more animals than any other animal protection group in the US, much of the “care” HSUS provides is in the form of spay-neuter assistance. In fact, local groups that operate on considerably slimmer budgets, such as the Houston SPCA, provide direct care to more animals than HSUS does.

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