San Francisco Considers Formal Recognition For Pet Supply Stores

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A pet hamster enjoys a brief moment of freedom outside its cage. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco may soon reward pet stores that stock food and accessories, but no actual pets, with an official seal recognizing that no live animals are for sale.

The city’s Animal Control and Welfare Commission decided to consider creating a Humane Pet Store Program after a stalled push by animal rights advocates to ban pet sales entirely within San Francisco.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Pet supply stores would be rewarded with an official sign they could display to advise customers the merchant sells no products that support inhumane breeding facilities such as puppy mills.

Dr. Elliot Katz, a veterinarian who helped found the organization In Defense of Animals, characterized the merit program as “a second best” option since the commission does not have the legal authority to implement an outright ban.

“It’s better than nothing,” he said.

Even this may be too much for some industry groups.

Many pet stores and breeders support the goal of animal rights activists to improve the standards of care at all stages of an animal’s life, said Michael Maddox, an attorney who serves as general counsel for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

Maddox said industry groups believe the city program is flawed because no pet store that sells live animals would be eligible for recognition, even if it goes to great lengths to verify the animals for sale are bred under humane conditions.

“They’re just characterizing all pet stores that happen to sell animals as unacceptable,” Maddox said.

“If you’re saying that we’re going to demonize every pet store that sells pet animals, that’s essentially a boycott, isn’t it?”

The commission was scheduled to discuss the animal sign program Thursday when it meets at 5:30 p.m.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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