Friday, April 13, 2012

Huntington Beach considers ban on retail sales of dogs and cats

The City of Huntington Beach will consider a new ordinance banning the sales of dogs and cats in commercial establishments at their meeting on Monday, April 16th 2012. Please contact the mayor and city council members to express your opposition. CFoDC sent this letter. The fax for the City is included for your convenience. Email contacts are also available on the City's website: http://www.huntingtonbeachca.gov/government/elected_officials/city_council/
 
 
City of Huntington Beach
2000 Main Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Fax: 714-536-5233
 
April 13, 2012 
 
Dear Mayor Hansen and City Council Members,
 
The California Federation of Dog Clubs, founded in 1990, represents thousands of dog owners across our state. We are advocates for animal welfare, for promotion of responsible dog ownership and for protecting the rights of responsible dog owners. Among our current projects, we conduct breed identification workshops for shelter workers, we distribute a dog care and training brochure for new owners who adopt from shelters, and provide a 1-800 help line for pet owners struggling with behavior or training problems. We also maintain and administer a relief fund for animals affected by disasters such as earthquakes or fires. We support animal legislation that provides positive benefits to society.
 
The CFoDC is OPPOSED to retail sales bans on pets, and urges you to reject proposed ordinance #3938.
 
Research shows that less than 5% of shelter animals originate from pet stores, and that the vast majority of pet store customers are very happy with their pets. A sales ban would only hurt legitimate businesses and responsible, regulated breeders, not substandard facilities. 
 
Sales bans create a shortage of desirable pets, a black market for dogs and cats, and a rise in imports from other countries. And, replacing pets from licensed breeders with unregulated "rescue" animals is very unwise. Many "rescue" groups are already importing dogs from overseas to meet the demand for pets. This is happening right now in southern California! A rescue group in LA imports dogs and sells them for hundreds of dollars each. Per the "Dogs Without Borders" website: "We currently rescue most dogs from local shelters and strays, but sometimes we rescue dogs from as far away as Taiwan!....Some of the dogs you see on our site are not here in the States."
 
This practice is not only outrageous, but also is very irresponsible on the part of the shelters/rescues that participate. There are diseases and parasites in other countries which are transmitted from dog-to-dog or from dogs to humans which put the safety of our citizens and our dog population at great risk. In late 2004, the first case of canine rabies in Los Angeles County in 30 years was confirmed. The dog had recently come in from Mexico. Rabies is a fatal disease that still causes over 50,000 human deaths annually worldwide. 
 
Claims of high incidence of illness in pet store puppies are totally unsubstantiated. There is evidence that the pet industry provides more veterinary care for puppies than the public at large. DVM/VPI Insurance Group, the largest provider of animal health insurance, testified during a hearing in California that "preconceived notions" concerning pet store puppies "could not have been more wrong."
 
After insuring more than 89,000 pet store puppies and kittens and handling health claims from a pool of more than 500,000 insured animals, the insurance company reduced its premiums for pet store puppies and kittens substantially by as much as 22 percent compared to premiums charged for animals from other sources. Why? Pet store puppies receive more veterinary attention during the first 12 weeks of age than any other puppies and, as a result, have fewer claims.
 
Statistics collected over the past two years at the animal sanctuary "Heaven Can Wait" showed that fewer than 5 percent of shelter animals are from pet stores and no more than 1 percent or 2 percent are from professional breeders.
 
A ban on sales of commercially-bred pets is not necessary. Currently, most pet stores already do support rescue with adoption drives. 
 
Pet stores are a legitimate source for healthy, well-bred animals. Studies show pet store animals are generally very healthy. Unregulated strays are a different matter, with unknown health, temperament, parasites and infectious diseases. Banning sales of animals from licensed and inspected sources in pet stores will have many adverse unintended consequences harmful to public health and safety. We urge you to reject the proposed ban on retail sales of pets.
 
 
Sincerely yours,
 
 
Geneva Coats, R.N.
Secretary, California Federation of Dog Clubs
 
 
CC: Don Hansen, Devin Dwyer, Connie Boardman, Keith Bohr, Joe Carchio, Matthew Harper, Joe Shaw

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