Compassionate Public Policy

Posted by Pia

This past week the City of West Hollywood took a landmark stand for shelter animals like these cuties!

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Cracker Jack - Urgent! - from Mobile, Alabama. Cracker Jack is at a municipal shelter and his time is up. Please consider fostering or adopting him!

1 Cracker Jack - Urgent! - from Mobile, Alabama. Cracker Jack is at a municipal shelter and his time is up. Please consider fostering or adopting him!

Stephanie, from New York City

2 Stephanie, from New York City

Ben, from Sewickley, Pennsylvania

3 Ben, from Sewickley, Pennsylvania

Buonomous, a Siamese kitten from New York City

4 Buonomous, a Siamese kitten from New York City

Blueberry, from Anaheim, California

5 Blueberry, from Anaheim, California

Kittens from Chicago

6 Kittens from Chicago

Mazel, from Princeton, New Jersey

7 Mazel, from Princeton, New Jersey

In a compassionate and historic move led by council member Jeffrey Prang, this progressive city council voted to give shelter animals a fighting chance. The recently passed ordinance prohibits pet stores from selling cats and dogs other than those who have been rescued from shelters.

And frankly there is no need for pet stores to access animals from anywhere but the shelters. On any given day at a city shelter or rescue group, there is no shortage of purebred and mixed puppies and kittens just waiting to be loved! But while helping to rescue innocent adoptable pets is certainly reason enough for such legislation, it was initially prompted by an investigation revealing that a West Hollywood pet store was selling dogs supplied by inhumane puppy mill breeders. The same store was also importing puppies illegally for resale, a breach of federal law. Sadly, these are common ways in which pet stores get their kittens and puppies.

Shockingly, the store's suppliers were USDA approved. The reality is that USDA standards are grossly under-enforced and violations simply result in small fines that these breeders often build in to their cost of doing business. According to Ed Buck, director of Social Compassion in Legislation, who contributed to writing the ordinance, "It is widely understood among breeders and breed clubs that 'responsible breeders' do not sell to pet stores."

The store involved in the investigation, Elite Animals, agreed to halt these inhumane practices thanks to local pressure from protesters and The Companion Animal Protection Society.  The ban, which goes into effect in March, is a testament to West Hollywood's commitment to compassion   The city's leadership is not only banning commerce that supports this cruelty but they are also encouraging business to take pro-social action by showcasing shelter animals in need.

The ordinance does not affect responsible legal breeders from doing business as they have. But the vast majority of pets sold in pet stores are not from responsible breeders who attend to the conditions and welfare of their animals. Sadly, the grossly inhumane conditions uncovered in thousands of such puppy mill operations across the county are nothing but deplorable. And while these breeders might be USDA approved, they are routinely revealed to engage in inhumane practices such as overcrowding as well as failing to provide needed veterinary care, protection from the elements and even sufficient food and water. Many also routinely mate mothers with sons and wean puppies far too early, leading to serious health and behavioral problems later.

So a big round of applause for the pioneering efforts of the West Hollywood City Council. Let's hope other cities will follow their lead and make compassion a part of public policy! If you'd like to spearhead such an effort in your town, contact Ed@socialcompassion.org.

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

PS: Check out the details of the wonderful adoptable pets in the gallery:

Cracker Jack (Urgent!), from Mobile, Alabama
Stephanie, from New York City
Ben, from Sewickley, Pennsylvania
Buonomus, from New York City
Blueberry, from Anaheim, California
Kittens from Chicago
Mazel, from Princeton, New Jersey

Comments (8)

  • Do you know if all the cities across the nation did this we could shut down most puppy mills and cause the industry doing this to fold? Oh how I hope other cities and city councils will take note and do something take action.
    I will post this blog information to my Twitter and myspace pages and spread the word.
    Thank you for sharing this , I hope people take action and do the same.

    Mrs. Bosley Chow & Pam from California

  • EMAIL ADDRESS CORRECTION:

    If you do want to reach Ed Buck for help passing this law where you live, email him at Ed@socialcompassion.org. Let's spread this law across America and end puppy mills forever.

  • BRAVO!!! Jeffrey Prang, who recently passed an ordinance prohibiting pet stores from selling cats and dogs other than those who have been rescued from shelters.
    Yes and a big round of applause for the pioneering efforts of the West Hollywood City Council.

    It breaks my heart this even exsists and that we must stop this ugly human behavior.... because it all comes down to GREED
    I must look into this passing law where I live.

  • Hello All,
    This is a great thing to end all of those dreaded puppy mills. I sure hope it does.I will pass the word along here and hope things get going. Mom is in a panic today because I am not quite myself. Off to the vet's we go--yuk!! But at least my Mom and Dad care enough to worry and take extra good care of me, not like all our abandoned buddies. Wish me luck!!
    Love & licks,
    Basil

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    Well it’s still cold down here in the south but not as cold, or snowy, as it is up in the northeast. Wow, what a bunch of snow you have. I hear on the weather that we may get a little snow tomorrow. That would really make me happy; I love the stuff. It would also make everyone living around here happy too. They close down everything when it snows here. You two keep your paws dry. I know that if GK is anything like me, he will keep his dry.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Great work as always Dr. Pia. I just posted this to my Twitter, Facebook and new Google Buzz accounts.

    Thinking nothing but good thoughts for you Basil. :smile:

  • Hi Dr. Pia, What a wonderful blog about the new law that guarantees shelter pets will be in pet shops and not puppy mill dogs. I hope this particular thing will spread all over the USA and help all shelter animals. Best news I've heard in a long time!!! Jan

  • hello, I am writing as a concerned animal person, we have animal shelters here in Australia, unfortunately, try as we may, we are unable to accommodate them all while trying to find families to adopt them, as a result overcrowding and euthenaising of unwanted animals is a growing concern.

    Also I am writing to ask if Cesar ( Dog Whisperer) is likely to be a guest on the Martha Stewart show? we in Australia can only view Cesar via pay T.V. but those of us who have this option are thoroughly enjoying Cesar and his approach to treating animals with respect, by providing exercise, discipline and love. The more we hear from Cesar the less folk might mistreat their animals ( knowingly or unknowingly) or toss them away through misunderstandings ( only to get another one and try again !) - I have learnt a lot from your programme Martha, I believe there is much more to be learnt to ensure a safer journey for our furry friends. kind regards, Cheryl ( Chez)

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