Local pet store under fire: Owner of San Diego Puppy says he will not abide by new ordinance

Protesters demonstrated outside San Diego Puppy

SAN DIEGO - Angry protesters on Sunday demonstrated outside a local pet store that has refused to close its doors, even though it is violating city code.

A ban went into effect last week forcing shops to get dogs, cats and rabbits only from local animal shelters.

The San Diego Animal Defense team is fighting to stop puppy mills, and they say it starts with the buyers.

"These mother dogs never leave their cages," said protester Denay Heddy. "They live in horrific conditions. They stand on wire their entire lives."

Last month, the city banned pet shops from selling anything other than animals from local shelters. 

David Salinas, the owner of San Diego Puppy, says he will not budge.

"It’s completely bogus to be honest with you," said Salinas. "It’s extreme, and I think all of San Diego can see that."

He spoke to reporters Sunday while holding what he said is a purebred Cocker Spaniel that is about 12 weeks old. Salinas says he only buys from the very best. 

"Any customer that comes in … we have every single piece of information they need, including the breeder's name, where the puppies are tendered from," said Salinas. "We have pedigrees for our puppies … you see who the mom and the dad are, the grandparents, even great grandparents."

San Diego Animal Defense organizer Janice Hatch told 10News, "He's absolutely lying. There's no doubt about it."

She cares because of her dog Bella, who she says was a product of a puppy mill.

"All of her teeth were broken off below the gumline where she had chewed on her wire cage," said Hatch, who is speaking out against the city's last standing pet store.

She added, "I want him to shut down and get out of the business."

Salinas says it is his constitutional right to maintain business as usual.

"Until the city actually comes here and gives us some kind of notice to completely shut down, we will stay open because we are Americans," he said.

Salinas says switching to shelter dogs is not a business model he is prepared to switch to, saying it would cost an estimated $100,000 to $200,000.

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