Irvine bans sales of dogs, cats and rodeos and animal circuses

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Irvine CA bans retail sales of dogs, cats and rodeos and animal circuses

From Last Chance for Animals (LCA)

"It's just a win for animals all around," said resident Wendy Fears, one of a small local group that helped organize supporters of the ban. "I'm just real proud of Irvine for standing up against animal abuse."

Animal activists, including one man dressed in a head-to-toe dog costume, cheered Tuesday night when City Council members banned the retail sale of cats and dogs.

The ordinance, which was passed by a 4-1 vote with Councilman Jeffrey Lalloway dissenting, also bans rodeos and circuses featuring exotic animals.

"It's just a win for animals all around," said resident Wendy Fears, one of a small local group that helped organize supporters of the ban. "I'm just real proud of Irvine for standing up against animal abuse."

While Lalloway expressed disgust for those capable of animal cruelty, he worried that the proposed ordinance may move pet sales to the Internet and "import a pet problem rather than stop it."

"Today, tonight, we are here to deal with a problem that simply does not exist," Lalloway said. "We do not have any mass breeding facilities here in Irvine. We have one pet store, Russo's, which will not be selling dogs and cats after next year."

In August, The Irvine Co., which owns the Irvine Spectrum, where Russo's Pet Experience operates, announced that it would not renew the store's lease when it expires in October 2012.

The city also does not host circuses featuring wild animals or hold rodeos, Lalloway said.

While existing animal welfare laws should be enforced, new legislation in the city should "focus on putting people back to work, not on a problem that does not exist," he said.

More than 50 public speakers presented arguments to the council citing the animal cruelty found in puppy mills and buyers' lack of education of the conditions and health risks of those facilities.

"The reason that we need to make these laws is that the public is duped," Fears said. "Every pet store will tell you that they get their dogs from responsible breeders, but the truth is that responsible breeders would never sell to a pet store."

However, Fears, who volunteers with multiple animal rights groups, said that activists will now start looking toward other cities to adopt similar ordinances.

"This is just the first step in a process," Fears said. "People are starting to be become aware of how horrible a puppy mill is."