In case you were on the hunt for another reason to love San Francisco, besides the gorgeous scenery and its status as the fictional hometown of one of television’s most beloved families, the Tanners of Full House, look no further because the city recently passed a law that has us giving them major heart eyes.
San Francisco recently passed a law that prohibits pet stores from selling dogs and cats obtained anywhere but shelters. They are now only allowed to sell rescue animals, helping to combat the use of puppy and kitten mills. The law also saw a ban on the sale of pets younger than eight weeks. Licensed breeders are not affected by this.
These mills are a part of a multimillion-dollar industry operating in substandard conditions with the goal of mass-producing puppies or kittens. They cost very little to create and maintain, yet yield exponentially high profits in favour of the operator.
Often, the animals produced in a mill are kept in confined, unsanitary, and overcrowded housing, receive extremely low interaction with humans and other animals, don’t get proper veterinary care, aren’t fed properly, and therefore may be malnourished.
The animals are most likely housed in wire cages 24-7. Imagine standing or laying on a wire floor for most of your life, or your family pet doing the same?
With animals facing these awful conditions in mills, there is also the matter of shelters and overcrowding due to the many people who choose to shop for their dream pet, instead of taking an open-minded trip to the local animal shelter. There are an estimated 1.2 million dogs who are put down every year in shelters alone.
San Francisco is not the first city in the United States or Canada to adopt this law. In fact, Richmond, British Columbia, enacted the same law in 2010 with Toronto, Ontario, and Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, Quebec, following suit by enacting similar laws in 2011. A total of 14 Canadian cities have enacted these laws. For a full list of these cities, visit bestfriends.org.
Though we are on the right track with many cities across North America having already passed this law, we have a long way to go. This is especially true for Quebec, Canada’s puppy mill capital, which very rarely sees its animal welfare laws enforced.
There are many organizations currently working to combat the puppy and kitten mill industry. Among them are Humane Society International, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Within the last few years, the Humane Society International worked alongside the Quebec government in rescuing approximately 1,000 dogs from inexcusable living conditions as well as instances of neglect.
The one thing these organizations emphasize in terms of the public’s help in putting an end to puppy and kitten mills: adopt, don’t shop!