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L.A. Councilman Koretz introduces motion to bar sales of pets from mills

The L.A. lawmaker wants to ease the city's pet overpopulation problem and limit large-scale breeding operations housing puppies and kittens in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions.

May 09, 2011|By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
  • A homeless dog waits for adoption at the city's West L.A. shelter.
A homeless dog waits for adoption at the city's West L.A. shelter. (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles…)

A Los Angeles city councilman has introduced a motion that could prohibit the sale and purchase of pets bred in puppy and kitten mills.

Councilman Paul Koretz, who represents an area that includes West L.A., Hollywood and Encino, said he introduced the motion Friday to ease the city's pet overpopulation problem.

Some pet stores purchase animals from puppy and kitten mills or large-scale breeding operations with unsanitary and overcrowded conditions and inbreeding.

"By being customers, we perpetuate the problem," Koretz said.

Although Los Angeles is not a mecca for puppy and kitten mills, he said it is important for the city to end the practice of puppy mill sales because so many other pets are available for adoption.

"The ban of puppy mills is just a piece of the issue," he said. "It's probably of more symbolic importance than anything else."

The motion asks various agencies, including the Police Department and the city attorney's office, to study such issues as banning sales of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits and create a program in which shelters and pet stores develop a system of best practices.

The motion also asks for a study regarding a ban of all puppy, kitten, chicken and rabbit mills in the city.

The number of mills in the city is unknown because the pets are typically stored in warehouses, said Judie Mancuso, president of Social Compassion in Legislation, a nonprofit group dedicated to reducing the overpopulation of pets.

"If you're breeding in these horrible conditions, they sell for next to nothing," she said. "It really is a cash crop."

Jan Selder, director of Valley Operations for Los Angeles City Animal Services, said more than 56,000 dogs and cats were impounded in the city last year, one of the highest on record.

So far in 2011, city shelters took in 16,000 dogs and cats, and the number could surpass last year's.

Selder said she would like to see more pet stores working with area shelters in pet adoptions.

"In a perfect world, pet stores wouldn't be a bad thing," she said.

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

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