Locals Unsure About National City Pet Stores' Compliance with State Law

The National City City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday that will change the way pet stores stock their pens.

The new ordinance requires any pet store in the city to only sell pets from rescues within the city that also have partnerships with the San Diego Humane Society, the ASPCA, or reputable shelters within the county.

The passage comes after a local group of neighbors voiced concern that some pet shops in the city were out of compliance with California’s new law banning the support of so-called “puppy mills.”

Assembly Bill 485 became law in January 2019. Under the new regulations, pet stores are prohibited from selling cats, dogs, and rabbits unless the animal was obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, humane society, or rescue group.

Violators of the new law could face a misdemeanor.

Leslie Davies of Oceanside said two facilities in National City, Puppy Patch and National City Puppy, are in violation of AB 485 because they are purchasing dogs from facilities that pose as rescues and are selling dogs purchased from breeders and puppy mills.

“The fake rescues are sourcing from the puppy mills which are located in Joplin, Missouri. They can provide an unlimited number of puppies at eight weeks old and that is just not possible,” said Davies.

Davies attended the City Council meeting Tuesday night in National City to discuss her concerns.

“We would like to see all pet stores not selling any cats, dogs or rabbits. But if that doesn’t happen, at least require the rescues to be registered within San Diego County and must partner with one of the seven humane societies or shelters located within San Diego County,” said Davies.

NBC 7 reached out to both businesses for comment Tuesday afternoon.

A manager with National City Puppy, David Salinas, said to NBC 7:

“We are obeying the law. We are grabbing a puppy that we feel is a good quality puppy. That’s why we work with that rescue. As long as it’s a good quality puppy, we receive it. Because at the end of the day it’s about the customer,” said Salinas about purchasing from certain rescues. “They have a 501c3 so they are a rescue, and if you have a problem with that take it up with the federal government.”

The general manager of Puppy Patch said that her facility is in full compliance with new California laws.

She said before the passage of AB 485, Puppy Patch did buy dogs from breeders. However, now they work with a shelter called Pet Connect out of Joplin, Missouri.

According to their website, Pet Connect Rescue is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization operating an open admission animal rescue for care and assistance for other pet organizations.

“We are in full compliance with the law,” the general manager said to NBC 7 over the phone Tuesday. “If not, we would be shut down by animal services by now.”

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