The San Francisco SPCA supports responsible legislation aimed at stopping the sale of inhumanely acquired and distributed dogs, cats and small mammals at area pet stores and providing opportunity for pet stores to sell animals that have been acquired humanely. Such examples include selling/adopting animals acquired from shelters or rescue groups.
The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are:
We support a responsible ban aimed at stopping the sale of inhumanely acquired and distributed animals at area pet stores. In particular, we are concerned about the sale of dogs, cats and small mammals at large, chain pet stores.
While we are in agreement with the intent of the Animal Welfare Commission’s proposed pet sale ban, we are concerned that the current proposal is overly restrictive in also limiting the sale of animals that are responsibly bred by small local breeders. If the ultimate legislation is not carefully worded, it could backfire by driving SF citizens who are interested in a specific breed or animal type online to buy from an animal mill rather than turning to a responsible local breeder .
In 2010, Philip Gerrie, a member of the Animal Welfare Commission, introduced a proposal that would ban the sale of cats or dogs from pet stores in the city of San Francisco. The initial intent of the proposal was to address the issue of where animals sold in pet stores are sourced. Because legislating online sale of pets has proven to be elusive, the ban would increase public awareness regarding animal breeding mills, primarily puppy mills.
Efforts to directly regulate conditions at the animal mills have been hindered by limited enforcement and resources in those areas where mills flourish. Most pet stores appear to source animals from high-volume breeders (animal mills) and pet sale bans are an attempt to get to the suppliers through brick and mortar stores. There is some evidence that regulating the demand side works. Since instituting a pet sale ban in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2006 shelter adoptions have increased by 23% and euthanasia has decreased by 35%. Another example of affecting change is the class action lawsuit against Petland, Inc. for misleading customers across the country into thinking they were buying healthy puppies from good breeders. The Humane Society of the United States investigated Petland, Inc.’s involvement and estimates that over 95 percent of Petland stores are linked to the puppy mill industry.
Petland, Inc. has responded that each retail store is an independently operated franchise, responsible for the pets it sells to consumers. While each Petland store is left to defend for itself, the responses are varied. One Petland store in El Paso responded to a similar ban by suing local rescue groups alleging their support for the ban is “defamation” towards their business. Another Petland store in Pittsburgh, PA responded differently by proactively embracing the rationale for the ban and adapted their business model to only sell local rescue group’s animals.
During AWC discussions, many groups advocated to include other small companion animals (such as hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, birds, snakes and lizards but not fish) to the proposed ban, as small mammals are commonly sold in SF pet stores. They are also commonly surrendered to Animal Care & Control and suffer high rates of euthanasia (ACC’s hamsters carry the highest euthanasia rate). The sale of rabbits and chicks was banned in San Francisco years ago; however, the inclusion of small mammals in the ban drew considerable attention and press so the Commission elected to table the issue. In June the Commission unexpectedly revived the ban and voted in favor of recommending a pet sale ban that was expanded to include small mammals and reptiles, amphibians and fish. In addition, the AWC added amendments to ban the purchase of food animals for pets and the purchase of pets from ‘small breeders’.
At the time of this writing the official AWC recommendation to the Board of Supervisors is unavailable but you can read a summary  here. It is not clear what the definition of ‘small breeder’ is but it appears that this recommendation would ban the sale of all pet animals, from mammals to amphibians, even if they are sourced or sold directly from local, responsible breeders.
Similar legislation in other cities http://www.tumblerridgenews.com/story.php?id=206103