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L.A. to Ban Puppy Mills

Will promote adoptions over sales

There will doubtless be some devils in the details, but the City of the Angels has taken a major step forward in the city’s Animal Services department to draft a bill that will ban the commercial breeding of dogs, cats, rabbits and chickens in Los Angeles and the sale of factory-bred animals in pet stores.

The motion was introduced by Councilman Paul Koretz and was approved unanimously. It also directs Animal Services to organize more adoption events at pet stores.

Passing a law will not, in itself, wipe puppy mills off the map. “I have seen us pose policies that are very well written, very well intended, but enforcement is the key,” said Councilman Ed Reyes, who supported the motion.

Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette agrees with that, adding that people who run puppy mills are not just going to fold up and go away.

“A lot of them fly under the radar illegally,” she said. “They’re very clever, and they have their little lookouts and they will move from house to house to house, and move their animals with them and stay one step ahead of law enforcement.”

But she added that as long as the new law is properly enforced, it will make a big difference. Every homeless dog brought into an L.A. city shelter costs the city about $400, and the average cat a little under $300, to feed and care for and, in many cases, then kill.

Koretz said that he has had his own experience of puppy mills, having bought a bichon from a pet store, only to discover how much medical care she then needed.

“These animals are inbred and raised in terrible conditions,” he said. “And that results in medical problems, behavioral problems … often that leads to those animals winding up in our animal shelters.”

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