Public hearing on puppy ordinance set for Thursday
March 11, 2009
An ordinance that would prohibit the retail sale of dogs and cats in the city of South Lake Tahoe will be reviewed by the Planning Commission on Thursday.
The ordinance is seen as a way for the city to do its part in combating puppy mills ” high-volume breeding facilities that the Humane Society of the United States and others consider to be inhumane. Most dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, the Humane Society says.
In addition, banning the retail sale of dogs would bolster the city’s image as a humane community ” something that could help draw visitors, according to a report by City Attorney Catherine DiCamillo. That’s consistent with a policy in the city’s General Plan that calls for encouraging visitor-oriented development, the report said.
“A prohibition will also encourage local pet consumers to adopt dogs and cats from shelters, thereby saving animals’ lives and reducing the cost to the public of sheltering animals,” the report states.
The Planning Commission meeting starts at 3 p.m. in City Council Chambers at the Lake Tahoe Airport.
The City Council in December asked the city attorney to draw up the ordinance. Depending on the Planning Commission’s decision, the ordinance could go to the City Council for consideration on March 17.
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If approved, the ordinance would give any stores that sell dogs or cats two years to phase out that part of their business.
Local interest in puppy mills increased after the opening of Broc’s Puppies on Lake Tahoe Boulevard in May.
Some South Shore animal advocates have alleged the store is selling puppies bred in puppy mills ” allegations that the store’s operators have denied.
City officials initially discussed a ban on the sale of dogs bred in puppy mills. But realizing that such a ban would be difficult to enforce, the council opted to pursue a ban on the retail sale of dogs and cats.