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NORTH (San Diego) COUNTY TIMES EDITORIAL: No roadside puppy sales
January 03, 2012
By North County Times and The Californian opinion staff |
In the flood of new laws taking effect Sunday morning ---- many of which are of dubious value ---- a valuable loophole-closing appeared.
Senate Bill 917 makes it illegal to sell puppies (or other animals) in parking lots or along roadsides. Such sales will now be an infraction on a first offense and a misdemeanor upon conviction of a second and subsequent offenses.
The relevant language reads that it is unlawful to:
(1) Sell or give away as part of a commercial transaction, a live animal on any street, highway, public right-of-way, parking lot, carnival, or boardwalk. (2) Display or offer for sale, or display or offer to give away as part of a commercial transaction, a live animal, if the act of selling or giving away the live animal is to occur on any street, highway, public right-of-way, parking lot, carnival, or boardwalk.
While it may seem like just more larding of the criminal law books with yet another rule, this amendment to the set of statutes governing cruelty to animals, which most reasonable and good-hearted people support, will help impede the noxious trades of puppy mills and animal smuggling.
In curtailing such activities, the new law only helps taxpayers who otherwise pay the costs of catching, housing and often euthanizing unwanted animals.
For pet owners, the change means that if a pet has been bred in a poor environment or develops health problems traceable to the seller, that seller can be found.
Animal experts estimate that only 35 or 40 percent of pet owners have their animals spayed or neutered ---- even though most reasonable owners have little intent of safely and responsibly breeding their animals (nor the resources to do so). Between irresponsible pet owners, pet smuggling (particularly across our southern border) and puppy mills, we have an enormous and expensive problem with too many unwanted pets.
The American Humane Society estimates that 8 million stray and unwanted animals end up in shelters every year ---- and half of those animals are euthanized. Housing, feeding and caring for unwanted pets at shelters soon adds up to major dollars loaded back on taxpayers or generous charitable givers.
This statute will prohibit the roadside selling of, or displaying for sale, an animal, with a $250 fine for a first offense.
Some critics of the legislation worried that this was a sneaky attack on breeders and pet lovers, and would put people who were just walking their dogs on the sidewalk at risk. (They're misreading "display," which in this case is part of the "for sale," to wit, "display for sale.")
Such a misreading is beyond common sense.