Council Will Consider Banning The Sale Of "Puppy Mill'' Pets

LA MESA - The La Mesa City Council heard for an hour last night from citizens concerned about the sale of puppies raised in so-called puppy mills.

What followed was a short but dogged debate about the role of government in local commerce.

"I hate to see things happening to the cute puppies," said Council Member Ruth Sterling, "then my Republican side comes on and I don't feel so good telling a business owner he can't sell a legal product."

But in the end Mayor Art Madrid, who had just been sworn in for his fifth term earlier in the meeting, said there were precedents for the city to take actions to protect local citizens and he recommended pursuing the issue.

Eventually, the council voted 5-0 to have city staff prepare a study of legislation it could consider to keep puppy mill pets out of local stores.

For several weeks local animal activists have petitioned the council to take action against the Pet Works store in Grossmont Center, which they accused of selling defective and abused pets raised in dirty and unhealthful conditions.

Pet Works denied the allegations but recently announced it was going out of business because of the poor economy.

Animal advocates want local municipalities to require pet stores to sell animals supplied by animal shelters or rescue groups rather than from mass production kennels, often located in the Midwest.

After several emotional speakers, Council Member Sterling read letters from two constituents that told the council to stay out of issues that should be handled by other levels of government or by informed consumers expressing a preference. There was talk of "Big Brother" government and concerns of over-reaching.

Madrid compared the city expressing opposition to puppy mills and defective pets to the city insisting and enforcing its requirement that farmer's market vendors prove that they raise the vegetables they sell.

"We do a number of things to protect the public," Madrid said.

In the end, concern for puppies and their owners, trumped the more libertarian issues and the council agreed to have its staff pursue the issue further. It will be brought up again at a future meeting for the council to consider action.

Sydney Cicourel, leader of the animal advocates at this meeting, expressed optimism with the limited council action.

"I feel elated,'' she said. "Any time they're leaving a door open to something like this."

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Comment by Craig S. Maxwell on December 17, 2010 at 2:18pm

"How much of [your] tax money will be squandered on the City Council's feel-good effort" I'll hazard a guess; as much as it takes for them to bank political capital. This is yet another) price we'll pay for for having allowed our mini ship of state to be piloted by by pack unprincipled political hacks.

Comment by joan sullivan on December 17, 2010 at 9:21am

It is the La Mesa City Council's mandate to enact laws which serve the citizens of La Mesa.


Earlier this year a citizen appealed to the City Council for a law which would permit her (and other local Greenies) to keep a few laying hens in her backyard. The City Council rejected her request with the reasonable argument that directing city staff to expend time to investigate the issue and to write and incorporate such a law would cost the city too much tax payer money. No one objected to backyard chickens, just to the cost of creating the ordinance.


I expected a similar response Tuesday night. Instead, the City Council went belly up to a focused, well-organized, well-funded activist group who grabbed the podium and put on a manipulative dog and pony show to serve their goal of shutting down puppy mills in the Mid West.


How much of my tax money will be squandered on the City Council's feel-good effort to shut down puppy mills two thousand miles away by boycotting their product in one little California city? How does this serve the citizens of La Mesa? Puppy mills in Missouri are not germane to the business of running the City of La Mesa.


How many more La Mesa merchants will be run out of town by such activist blackmail threats, "You sell only what I want you to sell or I'll have the pushover City Council write a law to force you."


West Hollywood caved in to these activists. Here is the result, from the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Comment by Janet Mercer-Grey on December 15, 2010 at 4:49pm

So now that the La Mesa City Nanny-in-chief and the little Nannett's have effectively agreed with First Lady Michele Obama that some issues are too important to leave to citizens to decide I have a few other issues that need to be addressed right away.

Alcohol must be eliminated as DUI's and public drunkenness has been a problem in the past and the police cannot be trusted to fully do their jobs in the future to rid us of this scourge.

During my walk around Christmas Nights last week I could clearly see paintings of nudes through the windows of O'Dunn's studio. Children could see these for goodness sakes. My eyes are now burning!

I have noticed that some people are leaving their holiday lights on all night long. I can feel the planet warming as a result.

Fountains Aquarium has lots of fish. Where do they buy them? A fish mill? I bought 6 fish for a dollar several years ago for my kids to feed and enjoy and learn responsibility and a couple died within a few weeks. I now believe it was from diseases brought on by of having too many fish in a tank at one time and not regularly rotating them to a tank with fresh water. We buried them in the back yard and I'm sure i could find their remains so an autopsy can be performed.


Comment by Karen Pearlman on December 15, 2010 at 12:58pm

Excellent story!


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