National City Goes Step Further to Restrict Animal Sales at Pet Stores

National City has gone one step further than a state mandate to restrict the sale of animals within their city limits. 

The National City City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to ban retail pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits. The goal, according to the city, is to close loopholes in Assembly Bill 485. Vice Mayor Ron Morrison was the only dissenting vote. 

AB 485 became law in January 2019 and restricted pet stores from selling animals unless the they were obtained from a public animal control agency or shelter, humane society, or rescue group.

But some residents in National City were concerned that pet stores were purchasing dogs from facilities that pose as rescues and were selling dogs purchased from breeders and so-called "puppy mills."

Now, pet stores can only adopt out animals without taking a fee. Those not in compliance face a misdemeanor.

Animal activists cheered loudly in the city council chamber upon the decision. But some pet store owners were not happy. David Salinas, who owns 11 animal stores, including one in National City, called the move an injustice. 

Salinas said he has been abiding by AB 485 since it was enacted and said the new ordinace is an overreach by local government. 

The ordinance is to be signed in 30 days and will take effect in 60 days. 

The prohibition does not apply to public shelters or animal control agencies, animal rescues and humane societies or pet stores that legitimately obtain animals from those facilities. Animals sold on the same site where they were bred are also excluded. 

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