Sacramento wants you to adopt pets, not buy them

Three kittens were offered for adoption at the Sacramento animal shelter last November.
Three kittens were offered for adoption at the Sacramento animal shelter last November. rbenton@sacbee.com

We love our cats and dogs in Sacramento, rescue animals included.

Just look back to the nearly 1,100 pets adopted from the city’s animal shelter in the last six weeks of 2016, when generous donors paid all the fees.

So it’s only natural that the City Council should now encourage more adoptions by banning the retail sale of cats and dogs, since many come from often-horrible kitten and puppy mills. Instead, pet stores will be able to work with animal shelters run by the city and nonprofits to offer display space for pets up for adoption.

The proposed ordinance change was unanimously endorsed Tuesday by the council’s Law & Legislation Committee. The proposal is similar to those passed already in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Long Beach and nearly 200 other cities across the country. Assembly Bill 485 – introduced by Patrick O’Donnell, a Long Beach Democrat, and now before the Legislature – would require all cats and dogs sold in stores statewide to be rescue animals.

City officials say the local proposal will reduce the population of unwanted animals, limit disease among pets and reduce backyard breeding and sales on Craigslist. And it will cut short an ugly cycle: A kitten or puppy is born at a commercial breeding operation, often overcrowded and unsanitary. It doesn’t get enough veterinary care or socialization, so it’s sickly and unfriendly. Disappointed owners end up taking the animals to shelters.

The national chains, including PetSmart and Petco, and most local stores have stopped selling animals. Gina Knepp, the city’s animal care services manager, says there are only two stores that now sell cats and dogs: College Greens Pet Center off Folsom Boulevard and Pet Paradise off Freeport Boulevard.

Two is too many for our furry friends.