CAPS Wins Lawsuit by San Diego Puppy Over Ordinance Banning Retail Sale of Puppies


Judge Dismisses San Diego Puppy’s Lawsuit against Companion Animal Protection Society

A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California dismissed a lawsuit brought against the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), the City of San Diego, and others, and invited an application for attorneys’ fees and costs.

San Diego Puppy, Inc. brought the lawsuit after CAPS initiated and drafted proposed legislation and then worked closely with the San Diego City Council and other animal nonprofits to pass an ordinance. This ordinance bans the retail sale of pet shop puppies, kittens and rabbits. In 2013, plaintiffs San Diego Puppy, and its owners David and Veronica Salinas, brought suit in retaliation for CAPS’ efforts to ban the retail sale of companion animals and raise awareness concerning the cruel and inhumane puppy and kitten mills that supply retail pet stores.

The plaintiffs claimed the ordinance violated the store’s constitutional rights and alleged that CAPS acted improperly in assisting the San Diego City Council’s efforts to pass the ordinance.  Chief Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz dismissed all the claims against CAPS and took the extraordinary step of inviting CAPS to apply for attorneys’ fees and costs.  The judge found that CAPS had engaged in the constitutionally protected activities of free speech and legislative participation and that the plaintiffs had filed the lawsuit in order to punish CAPS for those activities.

CAPS thanks its San Diego counsel, animal rights lawyer Gretel Smith, Esq., for her hard work and dedicated representation in this lawsuit.

The lawsuit marks a successful end to CAPS’ campaign in San Diego, which encouraged the city to enact an ordinance in support of adoption of homeless animals from shelters and rescue organizations.  The dismissal of the lawsuit is a major victory for retail pet shop ordinances nationwide, which are under attack from lawsuits in Phoenix, Arizona, Cook County, Illinois, and Sunrise, Florida.

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