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National City introduces new law to tighten restrictions on pet stores

Posted at 11:48 PM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 08:55:17-04

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) - The National City City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night to introduce a new ordinance that aims to close a loophole in a state law that prohibits the retail sale of cats, dogs and rabbits.

Enacted on January 1, 2019, the new state law prohibits stores from selling animals unless they come from shelters or non-profit rescues. 

However, some pet stores have continued to sell what appear to be purebred and designer mix puppies that come from a small group of newly formed rescue organizations.

One of those groups is called Bark Adoptions, based in Menifee. A 10News investigation found Bark Adoptions had been importing puppies from another supposed rescue in Iowa that had ties to commercial breeders.

At National City Puppies, one of the two remaining pet stores in the city, signs on the dog cages in May showed they came from Bark Adoptions.

The manager of National City Puppies, David Salinas, said he did not know where the dogs at his store came from beyond the listed rescues. But he defended his store in front of the city council, saying it comes down to consumer choice.

“It’s the American way to have the freedom to choose where to buy a puppy,” said Salinas.

As written now, the new ordinance says “a pet shop or retail pet store or its operator shall not sell, deliver, offer for sale, barter, auction or otherwise dispose of a cat, dog or rabbit.”

There are exceptions, however, that would allow pet stores to offer “a cat, dog or rabbit owned by an animal shelter or animal rescue organization for purposes of adoption” but only if “the pet shop does not receive any fee from the adoption and does not have any monetary or ownership interest” in the animals. 

The ordinance still has to come back to the city council for a second reading and adoption before it goes into effect.