A landmark ordinance, spearheaded by the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), officially passed on Wednesday. The ban was the result of years of pressure from non-profit organizations like CAPS to curb the influx of puppy mill dogs into big cities. In February of last year, CAPS provided the Los Angeles City Council with the results of its two year investigation into LA's retail pet stores and the commercial breeding facilities – mostly from the Midwest and rural California – that supplied them.
The undercover investigation included video and photographic evidence of puppy mill operators who routinely violated federal law – Animal Welfare Act (AWA) – as well as state laws protecting animals. CAPS uncovered evidence that many of LA's pet retailers still purchased and supported commercial breeders. Most of these puppy mills were neglectful and abusive to their animals, repeatedly violated USDA minimum standard of care, and often bred sickly or subpar dogs. CAPS also discovered that LA's pet stores were misleading unsuspecting consumers by selling them sick and dying animals.
In addition to the undercover investigations, CAPS organized hundreds of protests in Los Angeles pet stores that also put pressure on local officials to act against puppy mills. CAPS led a landmark protest in 2009 inside the Westside Pavilion Mall in Los Angeles against one of seven Barkworks stores, which set the stage for a long campaign in the Southern California. CAPS broke new ground in the California animal protection movement by invoking the more expansive California Constitution to legally protest inside a mall, which is a de facto public forum under California case law.
CAPS continued its Barkworks campaign by holding several more protests at three malls, often with more than 100 participants. One of our unique protests included more than 70 inner city public high school students who got involved after learning about the puppy mill-pet shop-shelter connection from CAPS. CAPS' campaigns in the Los Angeles area also pushed several retailers into switching to a humane business model, on which part of the LA ordinance is based. In an eight-month period, four stores stopped selling puppy mill dogs and began offering animals from shelters and rescue organizations.
“After eight years of investigations and protests, we are satisfied and optimistic about breaking the blood money contracts between puppy mill owners who abuse animals and L.A. pet retailers. This ordinance will relieve mill animals and help save the lives of animals who are killed at Los Angeles Animal Services. The 2011-2012 body count is unacceptable, with 9,056 dogs and 12,061 cats killed in our shelters. We are relieved that finally, the cries of L.A.’s shelter animals have been heard. Puppy mills and cruel pet factories will fade into history at last," said Companion Animal Protection Society West Coast Director Carole Raphaelle Davis.
The legislation is particularly important because it makes LA the largest city in the US and Canada to ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits from commercial breeders. CAPS has consistently supplied reliable evidence to cities determined to stop puppy mills from selling dogs to their communities. Our West Hollywood, California ordinance banning the sale of pet shop puppies and kittens received worldwide media coverage and was the genesis for the now growing ordinance movement in both this country and Canada.
There are ordinances banning the sale of pet shop puppies and kittens in California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas and Canada. We assisted with the by-law in Richmond, British Columbia, which was the inspiration for the recently passed by-law in Toronto. CAPS also worked with Legislator Jon Cooper in Suffolk County before he withdrew his proposed ordinance due to state preemption, which CAPS is now trying to get removed from the state lemon law.
The West Hollywood ordinance, which passed in February of 2010, was possible because of the relentless work of the CAPS West Cost team, which submitted CAPS undercover investigation of the local pet shop and the atrocious Wensmann puppy mill in Minnesota that supplied this pet shop. CAPS was subsequently involved with getting pet shop ordinances passed in Glendale and Irvine, Calif. CAPS was recently involved in getting the first pet shop ordinance passed in Illinois and is working on other municipalities in the Chicago area. Sarasota County, which has three pet shops, is also on the agenda.
The LA ban was introduced by Councilman Paul Koretz, a West Hollywood Council member from 2000 to 2006 and a longtime supporter of animal rights. The measure will give a much needed boost to the overburdened municipal shelter system, which currently has thousands of pets ready for adoption.
“Finally, an end to rabbits bred in cruel pet factories who are then trucked to unscrupulous retail animal dealers here in L.A., only to live out their sad lives in a cage. We have high hopes that consumers will now gladly turn to the shelters to adopt homeless and sterilized rabbits,” said President of Bunny World Foundation Lejla Hadzimuratovic.
In February of last year, CAPS provided L.A.’s City Council with the results of its two-year investigation into L.A.’s retail pet stores and the California and Midwest commercial breeding factories that supply them. The undercover investigation included video and photographic evidence of puppy mill operators who routinely violated federal law (Animal Welfare Act) as well as state laws to protect animals. CAPS uncovered evidence that L.A.’s pet retailers are currently in business with commercial breeders (puppy mills) who are neglecting and abusing animals, repeatedly violating USDA minimum standards of care. CAPS also discovered that L.A.’s pet stores are fraudulently selling sick and dying animals that come from substandard commercial breeding facilities and misleading consumers.
In addition to its undercover operations, CAPS organized hundreds of protests at Los Angeles pet stores, converting several retailers to a humane business model on which the L.A. ordinance is based. Dogs, cats and rabbits from rescue organizations and our municipal shelter system will now have the opportunity to be adopted by the public in L.A.’s pet stores.
The city attorney’s office has informed CAPS that the sales ban ordinance will officially take effect after next week when it goes for a final vote with a “super majority.”
“After eight years of investigations and protests, we are satisfied and optimistic about breaking the blood money contracts between puppy mill owners who abuse animals and L.A. pet retailers. This ordinance will relieve mill animals and help save the lives of animals who are killed at Los Angeles Animal Services. The 2011-2012 body count is unacceptable, with 9,056 dogs and 12,061 cats killed in our shelters. We are relieved that finally, the cries of L.A.’s shelter animals have been heard. Puppy mills and cruel pet factories will fade into history at last.” Carole Raphaelle Davis, West Coast Director, Companion Animal Protection Society.
“Finally, an end to rabbits bred in cruel pet factories who are then trucked to unscrupulous retail animal dealers here in L.A., only to live out their sad lives in a cage. We have high hopes that consumers will now gladly turn to the shelters to adopt homeless and sterilized rabbits.” –Lejla Hadzimuratovic President of Bunny World Foundation
By: Carole Raphaelle Davis, West Coast Director, Companion Animal Protection Society
CAPS on Barkworks
LA City Ordinance - Council File No. 11-0754
CAPS on Humane Stores
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Nov. 16, 2007
Department of Agriculture
Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
CONTACT: Nicole L. Cullison
UNION COUNTY KENNEL CHARGED, DOGS SURRENDERED
State Dog Wardens, Humane Officers Remove 29 Dogs from Lewisburg Kennel
HARRISBURG - State dog wardens helped humane officers to recover 29 dogs from an unlicensed Union County facility as part of Governor Edward G. Rendell's effort to crack down on unsatisfactory kennels, the Department of Agriculture said today.
On Nov. 13, state dog wardens visited Fairview kennel in Lewisburg to investigate a complaint about the facility operating without a license. The wardens found 29 of the 40 dogs were dirty, matted and living in unsanitary conditions, including excess fecal matter.
The owner, Alvin Zimmerman, is being charged by the wardens for operating a kennel without a license and failing to maintain sanitary conditions.
Jessie Smith, the state's special deputy for dog law, said any kennel with more than 26 dogs per year must obtain a license and be inspected annually.
"The conditions of the kennel were unsatisfactory and without a license it could not continue to operate," said Smith. "Upon finding evidence of poor sanitation, the wardens immediately contacted humane officers who removed the dogs."
Zimmerman previously held a kennel license, which was surrendered in 2006 due to problems with the kennel, including sanitation and cleaning deficiencies. Following the surrender of his license, Zimmerman voluntarily reduced the number of dogs housed. Smith said sometime between the kennel license revocation in 2006 and the inspection this month, Zimmerman increased the number of dogs at the kennel to more than is allowed by law.
In October 2006, Governor Rendell announced sweeping changes to the state's dog law and regulations. The Governor also took actions to increase the enforcement of current laws by naming Smith as a special deputy, hiring a special prosecutor, and increasing the number of dog wardens.
For more information on Pennsylvania's dog law, and to access kennel inspection records, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us/padoglaw .
- THIS IMPORTANT BILL WILL PROHIBIT CALIFORNIA LANDLORDS FROM REQUIRING TENANTS TO DECLAW THEIR CATS OR DEBARK THEIR DOGS
For a sample letter and more information on the bill, you can visit the Paw Project website at: http://www.pawproject.com/html/what.asp
Please write before Senate floor vote which could be as early as June 21. This bill is needed, not only in California, but also to set precedence in other states where it is a VERY Common requirement to rent an apartment to require new tenants to have their cats declawed on 2 or all 4 paws or debark their dogs. We are lucky in California that this bill is supported by the Apartment Association. If you are a landlord , please specify that in your letter. Everyone's letters and efforts will really help.
This bill was doing really well. It passed in the California Assembly with a 63-7 vote but last week the California Veterinary Medical Association raised their efforts to block the passing of this bill by using $$$$$ and lobbyists, The measure narrowly passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 3-2 vote, and could be voted on by the full Senate as early as the week of June 21. This Monday.
The full text of AB 2743 is available at this link: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/asm/ab_2701-2750/ab_2743_bill_20100607_amended_sen_v95.pdf
PLEASE write letters to state senators (find your senator at: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html)
YOUR SUPPORT will be helpful because the California Veterinary Medical Association is lobbying very hard to kill the bill. CVMA is making the rounds of legislators¹ offices and making its views known to the Governor. It has also sent out an alert to its members stating that it is "strongly opposed" to the bill and urging its members to send letters of opposition to their state senators and to the Governor.
The CVMA is powerful because many legislators automatically support the position held by a trade or business association. Therefore, letters coming in from across the state strongly in support of the law will be necessary. Please inform as many people and rescue groups as possible.