Los Angeles, California – On October 31, a proposed ordinance regulating the sale of pets in pet stores passed a vote before the Los Angeles City Council. The ordinance institutes a 3-year ban on the sale of commercially bred dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores. Any such store that violates the new ordinance will face misdemeanor charges and could incur fines ranging from $250 to $1,000, depending on the number of times an offense is committed. (The ban will not affect licensed breeders, from whom buyers can still purchase pets directly.)

The ordinance was proposed to help counter the growing problem of over-population of pets in the Los Angeles area. In the 2011-2012 fiscal year alone, shelters in Los Angeles shelters took in 35,405 dogs and 21,883 cats. Sadly, due to lack of space and resources, 25 percent of those dogs and 57 percent of the cats had to be euthanized.

Officials and animal advocates believe the new ordinance will help reduce the number of homeless pets in Los Angeles by encouraging people looking for a pet to turn to a shelter first.

City Councilman and Chairman of the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee Paul Koretz (photo at right) proposed the ordinance. The ultimate goal of the ordinance, he said, is to help shelters in Los Angeles to all become no-kill shelters.

He also hopes that the ordinance will cut down on the number of backyard breeders and puppy and kitten mills. These kinds of breeders often subject their animals to substandard conditions and neglect to provide even the most basic care.

Elizabeth Oreck, of Best Friends Animal Society, also believes the new ordinance will have a positive impact for shelter animals.

“Not only will this restrict the flow of animals coming into our city from pet mills and backyard breeders, it will help alleviate the pet overpopulation problem in our shelters by providing more opportunities for rescued animals to find homes,” Oreck explained.

Councilman Koretz, for one, believes that having the ordinance in place will create an environment that steers people to a shelter or rescue in their search for a new pet. His hope, he says, is that adoption will become “the new normal.”