- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 8, 2010

How much is that doggie in the window? The one with the waggedy tail. In San Francisco, he won’t be for sale.

On Thursday evening, the San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare will vote on a bill that would make their city the first in the nation to ban the sale of all pets except fish.

These critters include dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, lizards and any other “companion” animals, as the commision calls them.

“People buy small animals all the time as an impulse buy, don’t know what they’re getting into, and the animals end up at the shelter and often are euthanized,” commission Chairwoman Sally Stephens told the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s what we’d like to stop.”

If the committee passes the legislation, it will then go to the full city council for a later vote.

Any San Francisco residents who want a pet will have to go the next town over, adopt from a rescue shelter, or find one through the classifieds. 

Pet owners are clawing against the passage of such a law and are howling their own protests. The law, however, has to be given the stamp of approval by the Board of Supervisors.

Pet store owners don’t see the difference between adopting an animal from the SPCA or buying it from a pet store. Because they think the pet owners are as likely to return them either way. 

Michael Maddox, general counsel for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council in Washington, D.C., told the Chronicle that studies by UC Davis and the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy have shown that only a small fraction of animals that wind up in shelters had been purchased at pet stores. 

People who buy animals at pet stores are just as committed, emotionally and financially, to caring for their pets as people who procure pets elsewhere, he said.