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