San Francisco Bans Sale of Non-Rescue Animals at Pet Stores

"The ordinance is designed to bring attention to and halt the inhumane and deceptive practices of large-scale breeding operations," said one legislator involved in passing the amendment

Group of five dogs, including Labrador retriever
Photo: Getty

It’s a victory for San Francisco’s rescue animals.

New legislation passed there on Tuesday by the city’s Board of Supervisors says that pet stores can now only sell rescue animals.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the board unanimously voted to amend the health code “to prohibit pet stores from selling dogs or cats not obtained from animal rescue organizations or shelters.” The amendment also prohibits “the sale of puppies or kittens under 8 weeks old.”

The amendment definitely shines a spotlight on rescue animals who need homes: according to the ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million animals enter shelters each year.

“This proposed ordinance does not prevent responsible breeders from doing business in The City, and San Franciscans will still be able to purchase animals directly from breeders,” District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang wrote in an op ed for the San Francisco Examiner, before the amendment passed. “People can still adopt from local shelters or find a specific breed from any number of breed-specific rescues serving the area. Instead, the ordinance is designed to bring attention to and halt the inhumane and deceptive practices of large-scale breeding operations that supply animals to pet stores and directly to consumers online.” (Read: Not puppy mills.)

The San Francisco SPCA took to Twitter to thank Tang for her work amending the code. “Great news! @sfbos has approved legislation that will only allow pet stores to sell dogs and cats from rescues. Thanks @SupervisorTang!” said a Tweet.

It seems appropriate that Supervisor Tang celebrated by cuddling an adoptable rescue dog.

“Yesterday BOS unanimously passed leg to ban sale of non-rescue cats & dogs! We celebrated with adoptable visitors from @SFACC and @sfspca! <3” she shared on Twitter.

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