Tuesday, July 12, 2011

431. San Francisco Debates Pet Sale Ban

A puppy mill
By Philip Matier and Andrew Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, June 15, 2011
San Francisco's ever-active Animal Control and Welfare Commission has renewed its push for a pet sale ban in the city - only this time, it even covers goldfish.
The idea is to put the squeeze on puppy and kitten mills that supply pet stores, and to discourage "impulse buys" of hamsters and other small pets that often wind up being dumped at shelters.
But goldfish, guppies and tropical fish?
"Most fish in aquariums are either mass bred" under inhumane conditions "or taken from the wild," commission member Philip Gerrie said. That leads to "devastation of tropical fish from places like Southeast Asia," he said.
The proposed ban, which the commission just adopted after a year of study, was expanded to cover animal breeders as well as pet stores. As you might expect, it has local merchants like Ocean Aquarium owner Justin Hau dumbfounded.
"The city is taking more and more control," Hau said. "They are very stupid."
Commission President Sally Stephens, who opposed the ban because it would include small animal-breeding operations, says it's up to the Board of Supervisors to make the final call.
"All this is, is a recommendation," Stephens said.
Sometimes the supes act on the commission's recommendations, such as when they approved a ban on declawing cats. And sometimes they don't, such as when the animal panel suggested introducing birth control pills into birdseed to solve the city's pigeon problem.
Supervisor Eric Mar, who introduced a measure Tuesday to keep big pet store chains out of the Richmond District, was noncommittal about the commission's latest proposal, saying only that the board needed to "look carefully."
On the other hand, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd wasted no time predicting that "this is another Animal Welfare idea that will end up in the dustbin of history and go absolutely nowhere."
Silverware scare: As the $2,500 (and up) guests dined on beet salad and Chicken Rollata at a San Francisco fundraiser Tuesday for Michelle Obama, waiters and waitresses in the Julia Morgan Ballroom began confiscating everyone's silverware - handing out plastic forks and knives instead.
Less of a security threat, you understand.
"Yeah, it happened to me, too ... and it's my building and my chef," said Clint Reilly, who owns the place and hosted Tuesday's event. "I just rolled my eyes - but that's the Secret Service."

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