SAN DIEGO - Local animal rights activists are trying to put some pet stores out of business. They want retail shops purchasing cats, dogs and rabbits from factory farms or 'puppy mills' to be shut down.
Companion Animal Protection Society, or CAPS, is a group aimed to educate pet owners about puppy mills and pet stores who buy from them.
Along Mission Gorge Road in Grantville, the group has even went as far as paying for a billboard that warns people about buying from pet shops linked to puppy mills. The billboard sits right next to San Diego Puppy, a Grantville pet store.
"It's a strategic location," explains Sydney Cicourel, a coordinator for the organization. "We've had six complaints from [San Diego Puppy] alone. Some of the puppies have died."
That is why Cicourel is working with other animal rights groups to push a citywide ordinance that would ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits bred from puppy mills or factory farms.
A city of San Diego committee is poised to consider the ban Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the city's administration building. The public hearing will allow both sides of the debate to weigh in on the issue.
David Salinas, who owns San Diego Puppy, calls the efforts a smear campaign against pet shops like his that he says do not support puppy mills.
"I know the opposition has certain tactics that they try to use to defame me, whether it's character assassination, posting my name and saying that I'm an animal abuser… that's ridiculous," Salinas said. "It's nothing but a competition and that's the way we see it. If you ban pet stores, you take away another source, another place people can buy healthy puppies."
Salinas said his puppies have the proper paperwork that traces the pedigree of the dog, and its history. He insists he purchases from brokers who are American Kennel Club certified and are overseen by the USDA.
"Puppy mills don't keep track of who the moms and dads are," Salinas added. "Everything here is completely traceable and authentic."