The ordinance is a way to head off any pet stores that use so-called "puppy mills" from opening in town.
By Rich Kane
March 10, 2012
In what may have been one of their easiest decisions of the year, the Laguna Beach City Council voted Tuesday night to put in motion an ordinance that would ban the retail sale of dogs and cats in the city.
Sponsored by Councilmember Elizabeth Pearson, the 5-0 vote was a way to head off the possibility of any pet stores opening up in town, since there currently are none. Such pet stores reportedly get their dog and cat supplies from so-called "puppy mills," where the animals are bred for purchase in often inhumane conditions.
These pet shops are also a magnet for protests, which is what happened last summer in Corona del Mar at the now-shuttered I Heart Puppies.
The council's vote would not affect legitimate pet adoption agencies or rescue groups that are based in the city.
The chamber was packed with pet lovers who voiced support for the ordinance. No one was opposed.
Laguna Beach resident Judie Mancuso, president of the non-profit org Social Compassion in Legislation, addressed the council:
"The way these animals are treated is despicable. The fact that we have no businesses currently selling mill-bred animals is a good thing, and needs to be codified into law. The council taking a proactive stance on this issue is the right thing to do, and shows that Laguna Beach is compassionate and thoughtful towards its pets."
"Most of the public is blissfully unaware of the origins of their cute pet store puppy," said veterinarian Dr. Matthew Wheaton, also a Laguna Beach resident and the founder of the Pet Rescue Center in Mission Viejo. "They are shocked to find out that the puppy's parents have lived in a cage their entire life, and will most likely be euthanized when they can no longer breed."
The council didn't need further convincing. Next, staffers will develop the ordinance, which will need to go through a second reading—most likely at the next council meeting—and votedon again before it becomes official.