What About the Sea Kittens?

Sorry I’ve been doggin’ on you lately San Francisco, but you make it too easy.

Image courtesy icanhascheezburger.com.

It all started with a discussion started by the Animal Control and Welfare Commission with the intention to cut down on kitten and puppy mills, but it morphed into other concerns. Commissioner Philip Gerrie claimed that small animals like hamsters and gerbils are exploited as well. Mira Tweti, author of “Of Parrots and People,” was there to explain the trials tropical birds go through in captivity. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

As commission Chairwoman Stephanie Stephens said, no one wants to see an animal mistreated, but what about the responsible pet owner who keeps an animal in good condition and forms a mutual bond of trust and affection?

Nope, testified the bird advocate, they shouldn’t have a pet either.

Sure there are people out there that impulsively buy an animal and then can’t handle the responsibility, and the animal ends up in a shelter and/or euthanized. And actually, I couldn’t find any reputable nationwide statistics on animals relinquished by owners to shelters to compare to the number of animals purchased per year.

It’s easy to see what would happen if SF banned the sale of pets (except fish), just to name a couple: (1) pet sales go underground (at least for small critters), the quality of care for the animals diminishes, increasing the likelihood that these creatures have health problems that make it even more difficult for their owners to care for them, and/or (2) people will just take a drive to buy pets outside of SF, and the ban doesn’t remedy any of the “problems” listed above.

So SF “pet” stores… with only fish. You can’t even pet fish—er, “sea kittens.”

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4 Responses to What About the Sea Kittens?

  1. Seriously? It’s not that hard… And the solution is amenable to both government and activists…

    Create a lisence for the adoption of animals.

    A lisence would generate revenue for the city applicable to services for animals-

    A lisence would set a standard for education of potential owners of animals- a required class, uh oh, youre now creating ecenomic opportunities, and jobs, hello? We’re still in a recession.

    A lisence would ward off those frivolously thinking of owning an animal since it will be a hurdle too tedious for the casual “I want a kitten or puppy” set-

    A lisence would further justify and faclilitate prosecution of those who abuse animals. Those without lisences are obviously breaking the law. Those with a lisence and are found to be abusive are subject to prosecution on a clearer basis than is recognized presently by the judicial system. And of course they have their lisence revoked and are fined. More revenue.

    Say the word “revenue” to a politician, see how fast they get on your side.

    Dont you have to have some kind of lisence or registration to own livestock? Why should pets be any different?

    With a lisence and solid lines drawn in the law- puppy mills go out of business IMMEDIATELY because they would face prosecution applicable per EACH animal discovered in an abused state. Pet stores can be held liable for selling from mills. You’re talking about a mill owner facing a year in prison lets say, per puppy, which in some cases if he has a mill, can mean a SERIOUSLY long prison term.

    Run with it and stop ninny nanny blogging around. You care about the animals- there is your solution.

    • Aaron says:

      Interesting, what kind of criteria would the licence be based on?

      • Aaron says:

        Also, SF does require dog licences, like most cities. What’s the practical and philosophical dividing lines between a prohibitive license, and an outright ban?

        Reasonable regulations, which is ideally what licenses are and do, are very hard to write for subjective activities like private enjoyment of property. That is essentially what pet ownership is. The ‘no one can have any pets’ response is cutting your nose off to spite your face.

  2. Christina says:

    I do generally oppose government monopoly on licensing. I actually have a recent instance of a dear friend, whose wallet was stolen (including her Social Security card because she had it on hand for recent employment purposes), who couldn’t obtain a new driver’s license for months because she didn’t have the proper government documentation to prove who she was (that means showing as proof at least 4 separate government-sanctioned documents if you don’t have a government-issued passport for this particular state’s licensing bureau). I can’t see how animal licensing would prove more efficient.

    Frankly, I could see advertising a pet shop as “mill free” certified by an independent entity as a bigger draw for people considering purchasing pets. As for impulse purchases, it may be more profitable for pet shops to charge a higher price for pets, and then offer rebates for people who end up keeping their pet over some predetermined long term; however, I’m not a pet shop owner, and since the statistics aren’t readily available, I don’t know the prevalence of impulse purchases.

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