SF to criminalize the selling of most pets

Here is question: what will happen to the number of guinea pigs or dogs or cats if it is illegal to buy them? The answer seems pretty obvious, there will be a lot fewer of them. Are the lives of pets so horrible that it is better that they just don't live to begin with? My guess is that the vast majority of pets are well cared for. Does that count for anything? Does it matter that people get pleasure from pets? Apparently not. SF is kind of a strange place.

Sell a guinea pig, go to jail.

That's the law under consideration by San Francisco's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare. If the commission approves the ordinance at its meeting tonight, San Francisco could soon have what is believed to be the country's first ban on the sale of all pets except fish.

That includes dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, lizards and nearly every other critter, or, as the commission calls them, companion animals.

"People buy small animals all the time as an impulse buy, don't know what they're getting into, and the animals end up at the shelter and often are euthanized," said commission Chairwoman Sally Stephens. "That's what we'd like to stop."

San Francisco residents who want a pet would have to go to another city, adopt one from a shelter or rescue group, or find one through the classifieds.

The Board of Supervisors would have final say on the matter. But not before pet store owners unleash a cacophony of howling, squeaking and squawking.

"It's terrible. A pet store that can't sell pets? It's ridiculous," said John Chan, manager of Pet Central on Broadway, which has been in business 30 years. "We'd have to close." . . .



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