San Francisco Mandates That Pet Stores Can Only Sell Shelter Dogs And Cats

Photo credit: Flickr/sshreeves

What a purr-fect way to show the love for shelter pets.

On Valentine’s Day, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for an ordinance requiring pet stores to only sell cats and dogs coming from shelters and rescue groups.

Pet stores must also display the name of the rescue group or shelter from which the cats and dogs were acquired, and keep records about the animals documenting their sourcing. (You can read the ordinance here.)

Roughly 200 communities across North America now have similar retail pet sale bans on the books now. These include Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Austin, and more.

This laws are intended to help put an end to puppy mills — large-scale, notoriously cruel commercial breeding facilities. An estimated 10,000 puppy mills are operating in the United States, producing some 2 million puppies and kittens every year.

“We really do believe that it will send a great message not just in San Francisco but across California, nationwide and hopefully worldwide,” Supervisor Katy Tang, who introduced this bill in San Francisco, told the San Francisco Examiner.

Virginia Donohue, the executive director of San Francisco Animal Care and Control, agrees.

The proposed ordinance helps prevent some egregious treatment of animals by cutting off part of the supply chain while protecting San Franciscans,” Donohue said, in testimony supporting this law. 

Krista Maloney, a spokesperson for the San Francisco SPCA — which also advocated for this law — tells Shelter Me that not only will San Francisco’s new law help curb puppy mills.

She’s also hopeful that it’ll provide shelter pets a bigger boost, “giving homeless animals the best chance at finding loving families.”


Arin Greenwood

Arin Greenwood is an animal writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Previously, she was animal welfare editor at The Huffington Post. Arin is a former lawyer (J.D. from Columbia Law School, member of the New York Bar), life long animal lover, pit bull advocate, and devoted fan of cats and dogs who run for public office. Her first novel, Tropical Depression -- based on her five-odd, sometimes very odd, years living on a small island near Guam -- was published by teeny indie publisher Back Porch Books in 2011. Her second book, a comic young adult mystery called Save The Enemy, was published by Soho Teen in November 2013. Hello From Dog Island!, Arin's third book, will be published by Soho Teen in 2018. Know a shelter with a great, innovative program? Have another animal story to share? Get in touch at!

1 comment

  1. JERRY EDELMAN says:

    This just makes such PERFECT sense. There is simply NO REASON for stores to sell pets from breeders and puppy mills when there as so many available in shelters and in danger of being killed.

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