1. Call to Order and
Commissioners, Pam Hemphill, Philip Gerrie, Andrea Brooks, Sally
Stephens, Laurie Kennedy-Routhier, Rebecca Katz – ACC
Absent Commisioners, Angela Padilla, David Gordon DVM,
William Herndon SF Police, Bob Palacio – Rec & Park
Comr. Stephens – Rules Committee did appoint three new
Commissioners to fill the seats of Comrs. Padilla, Routhier, & Gordon.
However seats have not been approved by the full Board yet.
2. General Public Comment
L-Danyielle Yacabucci – Wants to make sure only two
Commissioners are on the working group starting up to not make a quorum.
Martha Hoffman – SPCA feral cat volunteer – Thanks outgoing
Commissioners, Angela Padilla & Laurie Kennedy-Routhier for their work.
Richard Fong – Expresses concern over oil spill in the Gulf.
Questions if SF will make a statement of sympathy for all those affected.
Public Comment closed
Comr. Stephens – It takes four members of this Commission to
make a quorum so three Commissioners can meet and not break Sunshine law.
3. Approval of Draft minutes from May 13, 2010 Meeting
No Public Comment
Comr. Hemphill – In item 7 A, wants included in her
statement that does not want to be part of the food chain.
Minutes approved unanimously with correction by
4. Status and tracking of letters of recommendation from the Commission to
A) Update on
recommendation that the Board pass an ordinance amending the Annual Salary
Ordinance to create a classification for Senior Behaviorist/trainer and an
Assistant Behaviorist/trainer positions.
Comr. Brooks – Has met with aides of Supervisors but no one
Supervisor has taken it on so far. Remains optimistic. Update of training and
behavior classes partnering with ACC and PAWS. The project is in an
experimental phase right now working on troubleshooting common behavior
problems and how to address them. Classes will be starting in late November.
Classes will be for both dogs and cats.
4 A) Public
L-Danyielle Yacabucci – Requests that if ACC gets just one
behaviorist, will not just do dogs but also cats.
Richard Fong – Questions if an additional behaviorist is the
best position to fill. Personally, prefers an additional veterinarian instead.
Policy could come from Public Health
Commission with ACWC .
of an overview of animal welfare and related management issues at the SF Zoo by
Bob Jenkins, V.P. SF Zoo, will include recent events, current issues and the
Bob Jenkins – [Full presentation
can be found at the ACWC website under Supporting documents June 10, 2010]
SF Zoo is 82 years old and was originally owned and operated by the City. Many
structures were built in the 1930s. SF was the first major metropolitan Zoo to
privatize in 1993. A Performance Audit, done in 1999, focused on all aspects of
Zoo, not just animal welfare. The Audit found that animal care at the Zoo was
more than adequate. Since 1993, capital projects completed have included: 1)
Public Safety Improvements totaling $26 million; 2) $48 million from a 1998
City Bond Program; and 3) $40 million raised by the Zoological Society. The
City has told the Zoo that the $291,717 remaining from the Bond must be used to
fix remaining ADA issues (identified as a result
of an ADA
lawsuit). 50% of Zoo infrastructure is less than 15 years old. About 40% of
infrastructure is more than 60 years old. As a result of the 2007 Tiger
Mauling, the Zoo had a $2,100,000 shortfall, due to loss in attendance and
membership revenues. Because of shortfall, in 2009, the Zoo took out loans from
the PUC and Rec and Park Dept to pay bills that the Zoo owed them. They have a
structure to repay those loans. Since 2007, the Zoo has had significant changes
in senior management. 2011 Budget estimates $8-9 million
from public admissions, while the management fee of $4.1 million has not
changed in years, even though it buys less due to inflation. Animal care costs
total close to $10 million. An update to the Zoo's Master Plan was begun in
2007 but was put on hold in 2008 and 2009. A survey conducted by the Zoo found
that 74% of SF residents like or love the Zoo. From 1996 to 2007, there was a
20% increase in those who think the Zoo is good or excellent. Alao the
perceived need for improvements at the Zoo is down by 13%. The Zoo, however,
disagrees and wants to make improvements and has restarted work on Master Plan
Update. They are considering 93 major recommendations for improvements, with
over 500 action items. When making improvements, the Zoo has to have facilities
that are designed for people to enjoy because $10 million of their budget comes
from visitors (admissions, parking, retail). The Zoo has begun work on a
Mini-Campaign to rebuild the Tropical Rainforest Building,
install new squirrel monkey exhibit, renovate two hoofstock exhibits, and
renovate the playground to meet ADA
lawsuit settlement. The Mini-Campaign will be completely privately funded.
Addressed specific animal welfare concerns voiced at previous Commission
meetings. The polar bears show no neurological problems. Ulu paces when people
are around, in part because she was fed by the public when she first came to
the Zoo and she is still expecting to be fed by people. The Zoo does not see
the need to expand the Asian rhino area. The Baird's tapir will be moved to the
new Hippo area. Anteaters have access to their entire yard. The Capybara is
destined for the new squirrel monkey exhibit. The minimum cost to cut a hole in
the wall between exhibits is $17,000 to $20,000l; it is not simple to do. The
two black rhinos love their new area. It is larger than before. Ellie has a
skin problem and the keepers rub her down with mineral oil. Animal Enrichment
has been assigned to a specific Curator to focus attention on it.
Comr. Hemphill – Where the people surveyed only those that
came to the zoo?
Bob Jenkins – No. Was a random cross section of SF voters
done by independent pollster over the telephone. People surveyed had been to
Comr. Hemphill – What public do you draw? Seems to be a lot
of mothers with strollers.
Bob Jenkins – Changes through out the year. Many au pairs
come during the week. Right now many school
groups come. Also depends on the time of day. School groups are gone by
the late afternoon. Kids from summer camp come during summer. On the first
Wednesday of every month admission is free for SF residents. During the winter
attendance drops. Saturday attendance is different than weekdays. Have
instituted a zip code survey when admitting. Have a fair number of tourists but
zoo is hard for many tourists to get to. So it varies considerably on time of
day, week and year.
Comr. Hemphill – What about the filtration system of the
pool that was drained? What was the decision making about that? Could the
decision making have been better?
Bob Jenkins – Decision making can always be better. Was
geared towards two aging hippos. It took
two years longer that it should have to be completed. Hippos/Rhino planning
started in 2005 but was opened in 2009. Grizzly Gulch, managed entirely by the
zoo, started in 2006 and opened in 2008. Not a criticism but the hippo/rhino
exhibit was a City bond money project and city run projects take longer and
cost more. In 2004 the criticism was the existing hippo pool was too small. The
zoo then made the decision to triple the hippo space using some of the bond
funds of the $7.8 million to provide a bigger pool and a grassy area. This was
an interim short term solution to address the needs of two aging hippos. The
hippos died before the exhibit was completed. The final hippo exhibit was set
to be placed in the Africa exhibit at a cost,
in today $, of $12 to $15 million. Zoo did not have the money nor wherewithal
nor support by City voters to go for
that big of a project at that time.
Comr. Gerrie -What was
the question asked in the survey?
Bob Jenkins - They
were multiple choice questions. “Do you like the zoo a lot? Do you like it a
little? Don’t like the zoo? Etc.”
Comr. Gerrie – At the time of the survey there was a lot of
support to change the nature of the zoo to a rescue zoo. There was a lot of
support for such a change but the question was not asked.
Bob Jenkins – The survey was done long before the rescue zoo
issue came up.
Comr. Gerrie – As to the set management fee, where is that
going? What is being managed with that money? Is it known where that money
Bob Jenkins – It goes straight into the general revenue base
of the zoo. It goes to maintain the buildings and grounds for the Zoo Society
because the City still maintains ownership of the property, grounds, buildings
and animals, as per the Lease Management
Comr. Gerrie – So it goes to the actual management of the
zoo itself versus a position as a job description?
Bob Jenkins – Yes.
Comr. Gerrie – We had a very different presentation last
month concerning the zoo. They painted a very different picture. They had a
very convincing position that was critical of the zoo. Why do you think they
were so critical? You had good answers to
all the issues they had. We were ready to address all of their concerns they
brought up. We talked about forming a sub-committee to work on their
recommendations. From your presentation they are not issues.
Bob Jenkins – Trying to guess what they are thinking and
their motivation is not in my pervue. I am
willing to understand what they are talking about. It is more about philosophy
versus actuality. One can describe an event from wherever the viewer sees it.
It looks real to the viewer. It doesn’t mean it is real to everyone else. Or
that your perception is shared by everyone else. 75% of SF voters think the zoo
is fine, just the way it is, by 75% and less than 8% disapprove. To the Zoo
Society it is not acceptable the way it is. 50% more work remains to be done.
Another 10 to 15 years of work is left to do. Funding is starting with private
donations. We are not asking the city for money now. In November of 2007 the
thinking was to get a hundred, or two hundred, million to do the work needed.
The economy downturn changed all that. Donations to the zoo from private funds dropped by half. The zoo is lucky, many public institutions
across the country are closing due to lack of money. Last month’s statement
that this is not about money is
totally misleading. We are struggling to maintain our support. Its easy to criticize. Much harder to solve.
Comr. Gerrie – The several small fixes proposed last month,
according to you, are not necessary at all?
Bob Jenkins – There is no animal health reason for any of
Comr. Gerrie – If there were any small fixes, is there any
pot of money for that?
Bob Jenkins – Small fixes don’t have to go through a
process. There is a cap fee in the Lease-Management Agreement. We have no money
for any fixes. The mini campaign, ongoing now, will hopefully raise some funds.
When money becomes available, we will make those fixes such as fixing two major
hoof-stock areas, the aviary building, and we are required to repair the playground from a judgment by a court of
Comr. Gerrie – Two years ago we made a recommendation to the
Board to change the mission of the zoo
to a rescue zoo based on what was told to us by the zoo’s critics. I wish that
someone from the zoo had come, as you tonight, to offer us a different
perspective. We all went to the zoo then and saw what the critics described,
such as the stereotypic behavior of the polar bear pacing. We need to hear from
both sides. I appreciate you being here.
Bob Jenkins – That is primary reason why I’ve been coming
for the last 8 or 9 months. There has been a change, post Christmas, of senior
management. A change in overall philosophy. We are a partner with the City and county of SF.
We will participate in that partnership where appropriate and will continue to
do so such as attending these meetings.
Comr. Brooks – The 93 recommendations and the 500+ action
items are to be completed through the mini campaign?
Bob Jenkins – No. Those items came out of a study of the
master plan in 2007. We intend to put the animals in geographic areas as found
in nature. Right now, for instance, the lions, are in the Asia
section of the zoo. The intent is to have each area have animals and plants
found in only those areas.
Comr. Stephens – Will those items, from the Master Plan,
come before the Joint Zoo, (JZ)?
Bob Jenkins – The Master Plan and its implementation has to come before JZ. It is required
in the Lease & Management Agreement.
Comr. Stephens – What about the 500 action items?
Bob Jenkins – The staff has designated and they have to come
up with recommendations of what they want to do. Each item will come before JZ
when a solution has been found.
Comr. Stephens - You said that the changes in management
meant a change in management philosophy. What changes in philosophy are now in
Bob Jenkins – A more transparent zoo. My presence at these
meetings, which I do not control
contrary to accusations nor would I want to. This Commission serves an
important and vital function. Three Commissioners have accepted invitations to
visit the zoo and meet staff. All Commissioners are welcome for
behind-the-scenes tours and talk with zoo staff privately. Very different
attitude now. Is a recognition that we are a partner with the City.
Comr. Stephens – Glad to hear that enrichment efforts will
be done by the curators rather than the zoo vet.
Bob Jenkins – This will free up her time and allow her to be
far more efficient.
Comr. Stephens – Dr Spinelli commented at the last JZ that
it wasn’t just about more space but including enrichment in that increased
space. It sounds like the issue of enrichment is being taken seriously.
Bob Jenkins – It always was a focus for Dr. Jencek but the
new system will give enrichment greater emphasis. Have found that perfume such
as Obsession is an enrichment for
lions, tigers, and bears. They love it. Space is seen as a panacea. That is not
true for all animals. Lions sleep 20-22
hours a day. Have seen lion exhibits with huge amount of space yet they
use only a fifth. At the Oakland Zoo, their elephant exhibit is in a relatively
small space. Their enrichment program makes their elephant exhibit successful.
Comr. Stephens – There was a group of squirrel monkeys at
Stanford that has lost funding and were slated to be euthanized. The SF Zoo
agreed to take them in and found a donor to fix up the exhibit area for them in
the South American Aviary. That is a good example of a rescue.
Bob Jenkins – We also will be participating in the squirrel
monkey species survival plan with the AZA. The females have been shipped off to
breed with other males. The twenty males remaining are unique belonging to a
Comr. Hemphill – Some of the criticism of the zoo seems to
have had an effect on the direction the
zoo is taking now. Do you have any way to listen to critical feedback now from
people that come to the zoo?
Bob Jenkins – Absolutely. We knew what the answer was
because we have the clinical results, the animal care records, interaction with
the care givers, and with the on site veterinarian we could have blown off the
criticism in one fell swoop. Instead we choose to reexamine what we are doing
and make sure what we are doing is correct. Discourse is needed for the
questions raised. It’s listening then
it’s hearing and you have to
understand the other persons point of view. I believe I do. One has to be
willing to listen and reexamine and the zoo has done that.
Comr. Hemphill – What is the best way to contact the zoo
Bob Jenkins – Write or e-mail me. I answer every question I
get. Issues brought to this Commission
and to JZ have hardly ever been given
to the zoo directly. We want discourse with persons that have concerns. Look
them in the eye.
Comr. Hemphill – Can the public ask questions?
Bob Jenkins – Yes, I’ll answer every one. To date we have
had very few questions and little or no interaction from the venue of the
critics. I prefer one on one interaction. We can go down to any exhibit in
question and look at it together. We may disagree but will at least have had an
Comr. Hemphill – Have you had any interactions of the
activists in question?
Bob Jenkins – Only with the three Commissioners.
Comr .Hemphill – Is is possible to have that interaction?
Bob Jenkins – Yes. One on one is what is required. This Commission or anyone can send any question or
concern and it will be answered.
Comr. Stephens – Perhaps that was not the way it was in the
past. That is a good change.
5 A) Public
Lisa Vittori – Calling the enclosures of these animals
‘exhibits’ is still the language of the circus. Animals are kept in captivity
for our entertainment. As to size of the enclosures, it’s not about size but
about socialization with other animals as dogs do in this City when they go to
dog parks etc. Positive that zoo animals are not getting that kind of enrichment.
Thanks Mr. Jenkins for coming here every month to a public largely hostile to
the zoo. Asks if Mr. Jenkins could have a group walk-through with the public
that is here tonight. Questions the results of the public survey on what it is
actually telling the zoo.
L-Danyielle Yacabucci – Disagrees about space requirements.
Animals brought up in a small space have a hard time adjusting to a larger
space. Uncomfortable with describing conditions as ‘adequate’. Pacing is
pacing. If the public thinks the zoo is a great thing, there is a lot of work
to do to educate the public. Questions why ADA had to sue the zoo. There should have
been attempts at talking first. A lot of money can be misspent on building
without input from the public. Would like to see details of the survey. Who did
it? Who was surveyed, etc?
Richard Fong – Wants to know about how the zoo will market
its Asian exhibits to Asian communities in SF. Didn’t hear much from Mr.
Jenkins that could relate to. Didn’t hear “we” in the dialogue, only “I”.
Public comment closed.
7. Unfinished Business
7 A) Continuation
of discussion and possible action to recommend to the board that they pass an
ordinance prohibiting the sale of cats, dogs and possibly other small animals
in pet stores. Ordinance is intended to stop the sale of dogs and cats from
puppy mills as well as decrease
euthanasia rates of other small animals in city shelters.
Comr. Gerrie – Last month our Commission voted to recommend
a ban on the sale of dogs and cats in SF including a ban on selling certain
small animals not from rescues or shelters. That part was not included in the
agenda so we are revisiting the issue this month. Our intention was two-fold.
First, was to endorse a compassionate, symbolic as well as preemptive ordinance
to stop the sale now and in the future of puppy mill dogs and cats in SF. Only
one store in SF currently sells puppies not from shelters or rescues.
Our second intent was to include other animals, many wind up
at ACC which cares for them and are eventually euthanized or taken by rescues.
If we could stop the sale of “other” animals, they would not wind up at ACC. We
felt that banning “others” now would be more doable along with banning the sale
of dogs and cats. A separate ordinance just for “others” may prove difficult to
What was missing
from our discussion and decision last month was hearing from pet stores that
would be affected. I’ve talked with the three big pet stores in SF that sell
small animals, Petco, Animal Connection, and Pet Central. Representatives
from Petco are here today. Pam and I met
with Petco and ACC last week to talk about the ban and possible alternatives in
which Petco and the other stores would take ACC’s unwanted “others” and sell them
in their stores. Similar to the adoption Pact that ACC has with SPCA. It has
been illegal to sell rabbits in SF since 1978. Petco recently announced they
would only be selling rabbits from shelters and rescues nationwide. An
ordinance banning the sale of “others” may be ineffective as they would still
be for sale just outside the city. Are there any comments or questions from
Commissioners before I invite our speakers up?
Comr. Hemphill – Rabbits can also be obtained just across
Comr. Brooks – The declawing ban was also effective only in
SF. But we felt it was important. If the pet stores took ACC’s animals, would
be concerned about the quality of care in the pet stores.
Comr. Gerrie – Petco seemed very willing to work now with
ACC to take their animals versus waiting for an ordinance.
Comr. Brooks – Would the Adoption Pact be in addition to the
ban or a substitution?
Comr. Gerrie – A substitution. We need to hear from Petco in
order to make a possible recommendation. Lori Feazell and Kevin Whalen will be
speaking for Petco.
Kevin Whalen – Communication and Public Affairs for Petco –
With Lori Feazell, Director of animal care and education for Petco since 2005.
She served previously as an animal enforcement officer for 22 years. Petco
operates over 1000 stores across the country. Has two stores in SF. Here to
express views of pet ban. Petco has never sold dogs and cats. Currently does
not sell rabbits. Works with over 6500 animal welfare groups across the
country. Hosts adoption events weekly.
As a result, helps to find homes for 200,000 animals a year that might
otherwise be euthanized. Petco has a “think adoption first philosophy” adopting
before buying. Store policy is to take back any animal no matter how long since
purchase or even if not purchased at Petco. Animal is placed in quarantine for
72 hours then offered for adoption.
A ban on small
animals is not a good idea. A person can just go outside the City to purchase
the animal. A ban will also not solve shelter over population and euthanasia
rates. People will still relinquish animals. A ban will not promote behavior
change. The two Petco stores in SF sell up to 10,000 animals a year excluding
fish. Was told that ACC has about 900 ‘smalls’ surrendered in last fiscal year.
Including the other pet stores in SF, the number of smalls surrendered is
relatively low as to the number purchased. The desire for smalls will not go
away. Petco willing to work together to increase adoptions so smalls don’t have
to be euthanized. Passing a law will not diminish the desire to have pets. 62%
of homes in the U.S.
have a least one companion animal. Just passing a law to limit the availability
just won’t work. People will find a way to get them. Outside the City or
underground. An example of this is Ca law that bans ferrets yet there are apx.
100,000 in CA today. Some groups support not owning pets at all. That would
just drive the buying of them underground, the work to protect and safeguard
would be out of public view. Does see a solution in SF. To increase and optimize, to find every small an adoptive home.
Lori Feazell – Is in charge of Petco’s “Think adoption
first” philosophy. Partner’s with 4000 groups that are doing dogs, cats, and
smalls. Loves the idea of having a Petco store that only does adoptions but
there are not enough animals available. Recently tried to set up the Colma
Petco to do adoptions with Peninsula Humane
Society but they didn’t have the animals available. Silicon Valley SPCA is
placing animals in San Jose;s
Petco stores. Meeting last week with
ACC was hopeful to take ACC’s animals and put them up for adoption. Has
state-of-the-art facilities. Could start tomorrow. Petco would like to see
animals adopted versus euthanized. Has worked at ACC and Peninsula Humane
society. Understand dilemma of partnering with a pet store. But could save many
animals lives. A ban would take the business underground and out of sight of
the ACC officers. An adoption option would be better with Petco.
Comr. Brooks – As to your “Think adoption first” program,
how does that work with your current animals you have for sale? Are you working
with small animal rescues now? Or, increasing that in the future?
Lori Feazell – We currently partner with small animal rescue
throughout the country. We also have weekend adoption events. We also do horse
Comr. Brooks – Do you have a sense if, for example, guinea
pigs are being both offered by you and a rescue, does the public go towards
rescues or your animals?
Lori Feazell – We have adoption kiosks in our store, so if
we don’t have the actual animal in the store we can direct the customer to the
Comr. Routhier – What role does Petco play in the
spay/neuter of small animals?
Lori Feazell – The Petco foundation sponsors spay/neuter
efforts across the country. When we sell live animals, we do not sell opposite
sex. We do not alter any of our animals in our stores but we do give info to
consumers on spay/neuter.
Comr. Routhier – What about health issues associated with
smalls when they are not altered?
Lori Feazell – We have a care sheet handed out with the
purchase of smalls that address health concerns.
Comr. Routhier – Where do you procure your smalls?
Lori Feazell – We have vendors across the U.S, that raise
and breed smalls. They have to pass a rigorous screening to become a Petco
vendor. Petco visits each vendor at least once a year unannounced for
inspection for health and sanitation.
Comr. Routhier – Do you have limitations as to how far an
animal is shipped across country?
Lori Feazell – We don’t have limitations but do prefer they
be truck-delivered. Vehicles have to be temperature controlled.
Comr. Routhier – As to the smalls brought in, do you have an
Lori Feazell – We have an age and a weight limit. Our
advisory council has come up with those guidelines.
Comr. Routhier– How do you deal with the animals with
aggressive behavior that potentially won’t sell?
Lori Feazell – We have a socialization policy where
associates can work to socialize those animals. If it remains aggressive it is
returned to the vendor. It is not euthanized but will be used for breeding.
Comr Routhier – They breed the aggressive animal?
Lori Feazell – I hear your point. It does not happen often.
Comr. Routhier – Have seen a lot of smalls at Petco. Some do not sell at an early
age and don’t get that social interaction. What do you do with that inventory?
Those smalls that do not sell?
Lori Feazell – Rarely happens that an animals stays at Petco
for a long time. Smalls do get enrichment in the store.
Comr. Routhier – When do you have associates in the store?
Emmanuel Lara – Potrero Petco General Manager – Deliveries
can come in very early in the morning and we do have workers trained in animal
maintenance to unload the trucks. We have a weekly schedule for complete animal
care. Change bedding, etc.
Comr. Routhier – What specific education is provided to the
public for care of the animals? What education is provided to Petco staff to
educate the public?
Emmanuel Lara – We have Companion Animal Specialist
Training, CAST. Training starts with computer based training. A new trainee
works under an experienced sales associate. All personnel promote safe animal
care as well as educators. Stress informing parents of responsibility of taking
care of a small animal for their child. Does not sell any animal to anyone
under 18. If a customer does choose to buy or adopt and animal it comes with a
care sheet to understand the animals needs and how much time and care the
animal will need. Welcomes any adoption group that wants to set up in the
Comr. Routhier – Partnerships are a great idea. Have talked
with many people in pet stores that did not know that smalls were available at
ACC. They knew about dogs and cats at ACC but not smalls. If rescue groups are
not in your store is there a way to promote that knowledge?
Emmanuel Lara – We have a Petfinder kiosk. You can put in
what kind and age of animal you a looking for….
Comr. Routhier – I’m not sure people would use the finder
kiosk versus seeing what is available right in the store.
Emmanuel Lara – We steer them towards the kiosk when they
ask questions. Teachers come in and inquire. It’s part of our training to
encourage people to use the kiosk. We also refer to ACC for dogs and cats.
Comr. Brooks – Do you refer them to ACC for the smalls as
Emmanuel Lara – Not as much. People want rodents to feed to
their snakes. We try and sell them frozen. People coming in for smalls want to
get set up right away with cages etc. We are working on directing them to ACC.
Comr. Hemphill – Do you inform people of the life span of
Emmanuel Lara – Yes it is on the care sheet of every animal
we have. It’s also on our computers. The info also includes their health, red
flags to look for, what their appetite is.
Comr. Hemphill – What would the weekly order of animals look
like? Numbers and types?
Emmanuel Lara – 30 to 45 a week of each sex of mice. 2 to 3
for hamsters and guinea pigs. We don’t order more than we have space for.
Comr. Hemphill – Do the mice mostly go to the snakes?
Emmanuel Lara – Yes.
Comr., Brooks – Do you keep a data base of who you sell to
in order to avoid people obtaining breeding pairs?
Emmanuel Lara – We have a Companion Animal Purchase card.
They sign and state that they will not be using the animals for breeding. The
sales associates often recognize someone trying to come back and buy another
animal then the manager comes out informing them that they will not sell the
animal they wanted. If there is a sense that the person may not be a good guardian,
our associate will come get the manager. Questions will be asked to see if the
person knows how to take care of the animal he has.
Comr. Stephens – How often do you refuse sale to someone?
Emmanuel Lara – A couple of times a month.
Comr. Gerrie – We need to talk about about Petco’s past and
the recent lawsuit. We need to talk about what prevented ACC and Petco from
partnering up and how Petco will prevent similar occurrences in the future.
Kevin Whalen – You are referring to the settlement reach last
week. Petco got a wakeup call in 2004 that resulted in an injunction and a
cultural change in how we take care of animals in a much more sophisticated and
rigorous way. The settlement last week was around two components. Animal care
and pricing discrepancies that was concerning what was the posted price and the
scanned price at checkout being inconsistent. On the animal care side there was
no specific incident filed of animal care neglect. Any issues have been
identified and corrective action has been taken. It is important to us and our
animals to get it right.
Lori Feazell – Had been helping in the investigation of
Petco in 2004 working at ACC. Standards of practice have improved as well as
education of our associates. Puts name behind Petco after being in animal
welfare for 23 years. Petco is willing to change and puts animals first.
Animals are checked 13 times a day. All associates know what to clean and when.
A vet must be called within 24 hours for any sick animal unless an emergency
when the call is immediate. During the lawsuit, was never issued a citation for
animal cruelty, care, nor neglect. There were some paperwork issues. Associates
didn’t initial something. We’ve learned from our mistakes. When an ACC officer
visits a Petco store, sees the report and makes changes if needed. 80% to 90%
of ACC’s visits have a positive outcome.
Comr. Brooks – Are you against a ban on just cats and dogs
or any type of animal?
Kevin Whalen – One concern about a ban on cats and dogs is
not all breeders are puppy mill breeders. There are responsible breeders.
Comr. Brooks – Do the care sheets get regularly reviewed and
updated when needed?
Lori Feazell – We review them annually and take in input
from everyone for consideration.
Comr. Brooks – Are the same care sheets used in all your
stores or just SF?
Lori Feazell - They
are used throughout the country. Own staff reviews them.
Comr. Hemphill – Do you know what percentage of your
receipts are from supplies and from live animals?
Kevin Whalen – Greater percentage of sales would be from
supplies. We also don’t sell dogs and cats in any of our stores.
Comr. Stephens – Do you a guesstimate of the percentage is
from live animals? 10%?
Kevin Whalen – Definitely in that area.
Comr. Gerrie – I’ve invited representatives from rescue
groups as well.
Carisa Brungraber – Rattie Ratz Rescue – When we ask where
adopters found out about us there is never
a Petco mentioned. They find us on line, or through Petfinder, or ACC and other
shelters. People just want to adopt the rat babies at pet stores. Have never
seen signage saying go to ACC for adult
rats. Thanks Comr. Routhier recommending signage promoting the rescues and ACC.
One suggestion, brought up to the northern California rat community, is if a ban is not
possible limiting the store to have just one gender of a particular species. We
often get calls from recent buyers of rats, from pet stores, that were pregnant
needing help from us. People can go outside the City to buy an animal if there
is a ban but it is important to send a statement. On the rat care sheet at
Petcos, Rattie Ratz has never been listed as a resource which is one of the
largest rat rescue networks in the nation. Checked the rat care sheet of an East Bay Petco recently.
Found the same information as in previous years and the information was
incorrect as to a rat’s age and dietary requirements. That could sway people to
think they are easier to care for than they are. The care sheet should also
tell people to go to the vet with medical concerns. Biggest issue with Petco is
their quarantine period of 72 hours. That time is far too short to know if an
animal has a fatal disease. A virus in rats called SDA, http://www.rmca.org/Articles/sda.htm,
needs a quarantine of two weeks to detect. SDA outbreaks have become more
prevalent in CA. This website has a map of where the outbreaks are, http://www.rmca.org/Data/ . SDA is airborne and very hard to control.
At Rattie Ratz, adopter signs agreement to take the rat in to a vet with in 72
hours to make sure it is healthy. That should be s standard requirement.
Another alternative to a ban would be a holding period to avoid impulse buying.
Glad Petco’s policy is that a buyer be over 18 in order to purchase an animal.
Supports one gender and a waiting period of about five days. Shelters and
rescue would be exempt because they have a different screening process.
Comr. Gerrie – Are you supporting a ban or having Petco work
Carisa Brungraber – In favor of a ban because selling
animals in stores devalues their lives.
Comr. Routhier – Petco brought up the idea that a ban would
cause the trade to go underground. Current safeguards would then not exist.
Carisa Brungraber – There are always accidental litters.
Don’t see it going underground. Look at rabbits, not allowed to be sold in
stores yet windup in shelters. Doesn’t believe rabbits are being bred
underground. With small animals, one of their survival traits is large
litters. Numbers can increase quickly.
People are not doing it to make money but because they don’t know better.
Elizabeth Young -
Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue – Thanks Commission for recognizing pet over
population crisis. Is a full time volunteer 7 days a week. Has 100’s of
colleagues rescuing birds night and day. Rescues birds from shelters, abandoned
at vets, set free, Birds live a long time, eg., budgies can live more than 20
years. Birds are extremely intelligent
and emotional. All kept birds, no matter what kind, suffer horribly when not
taken care of well. Many items for sale at pet stores, for birds, are not safe.
There are no restrictions on what can be sold. Sees many solutions; more
partnerships, more awareness, show/publicize when an animal is euthanized at
ACC. Mickaboo screens adopters, educates potential adopters, mentors adopters.
Mickaboo does not have a shelter nor a facility. Please include birds in your
considerations. Perhaps a moratorium on sales before a ban, so people will first try to find a rescue before taking
their bird to ACC. The other animal intake rate would be much higher. There is
a big problem.
Comr. Gerrie – Reads from e-mail from Elizabeth of part she
did not speak about. “If pets are to be sold, tax their sale and fund rescues
and vet care and adoption center so that the true cost of selling pets is not
passed on to those of us who would never buy a pet when so many are homeless.”
Elizabeth Young – Thank you for reminding me. The true cost
of a bird sold is not reflected in the
price. Mickaboo spends $15,000 a month, every month, in avian vet care alone.
That money is all fund raised. Don’t look on the rescues as a solution. We do
the work because it needs to be done. Cleaning a mess I have not created.
Comr. Stephens – Reads statement from “Pet industry Joint
Advisory Council (PIJAC), represents thousands of member associations,
organizations, corporations and individuals involved in the commercial pet
trade. PIJAC represents the interests of manufacturers, distributors, breeders,
retailers, and pet owners in CA and SF itself. PIJAC cares about animals. It
has an animal care certification program used in the pet trade, shelters and
humane societies. PIJAC promotes legislation, both federal and state, for the
welfare of pets and works closely with USDA enforcing the Federal Animal
Welfare Act. PIJAC has battled misconceptions that pet store puppies generally
come from substandard facilities. Most pet stores puppy buyers are highly
satisfied with a happy, healthy puppy. PIJAC endorses Commissioner’s
suggestions of obtaining pets from shelters and private breeders as
alternatives. Surveys show less than 10% dogs and cats come from pet stores.
Adoption is an excellent choice for some pet owners. Many shelter animals were
relinquished because of behavior or health issues. Adoption is also not an
option for persons wanting a specific breed. The concern about animals ending
up in sheltersshould not be focused on pet stores. Very few relinquished
animals come from pet stores based on studies by UC Davis and National Council
of Pet Population Study and Policy. A Cornell University study showed that
puppies from other sources were no more healthier that puppies from pet stores.
There is no rational basis for targeting pet stores. They are already heavily
regulated. PIJAC helped pass legislation in Ca, the Pet Store Animal Care Act.
The pet warranty law covering dogs from pet stores is the most stringent in the
US. What purpose would this ban serve? It doesn’t protect consumers. In fact it
deprives consumers from looking to a pet
store as an alternative for a pet. Pet store puppies are as healthy as from any
other source. The proposed ban is misplaced and unsupported by all available
facts. PIJAC is sympathetic to the concerns motivating this discussion.
Substandard facilities do exist supplying pet stores as well as substandard
breeders and shelters. PIJAC is working to ensure humane standards in all
facilities. Singling out pet stores based on anecdotal evidence will not
eliminate substandard conditions. It is only a “feel good” approach diverting
attention away from effective solutions. We urge the Commission to not move
forward with the proposal.” Michael Maddox, Esq. Vice President of Governmental
Comr. Hemphill – Moved by comments about birds. This topic
needs more than one meeting.
Comr. Brooks – Also moved by the plight of birds.
Rebecca Katz – We rely heavily on Mickaboo for care and
placement of birds. People do not know to come to ACC for birds.
Comr. Stephens – Is leaning towards a ban of small animals
as well as birds from what was heard tonight. Could also recommend taxing the
sale of animals if it is allowed to continue. Also consider a waiting period
and having a single sex at a store.
Comr. Routhier – Pet stores don’t charge much for a small
animal so a tax would not raise much money. Like the idea of pet stores
supporting financially the rescues but would not generate a lot.
Comr. Stephens – Likes the partnership idea but not with
Comr. Gerrie – Favors the partnership idea. It would not be
restricted to the five small animals we suggested a ban on. A ban is like
killing a fly with a sledgehammer. The intent of the ban was to prevent animals
from winding up at ACC with the cost of care and possible euthanasia.
Comr. Hemphill – A lot of energy could be used in other ways
if the number of animals from ACC decreased and did not need to go to Petco at
Comr. Routhier – Has been to many rescue groups and there is
no shortage of animals, just a shortage of foster homes which links to a lack
of awareness by the public of the need to place those animals in homes.
7 A) PublicComment
Lisa – Volunteer at SPCA and ACC – Has worked in shelters
for many years and have never seen anyone referred by Petco or any other pet
store. As to going over borders to obtain a banned animal, it is a first step
and an impetus to change social consciousness.
Words are important. “Exhibits” sets a perception of animals
on display at zoos. “Guardian” is much more positive compared to “owner”. Is new to working with small animals at ACC.
Has learned a lot. Compared self to a potential buyer of a small animal who
knows nothing about the care needed. Suggest people volunteer first rather than
purchase right away.
Nadine May – Fixsanfrancisco.org – Representing fixSF
supports ban. Thanks Elizabeth for expressing plight of surrendered birds and
the people that take care of them because they have to not because they want
L-Danyielle Yacabucci – Has kept many animals over the
years. Shocked that smalls are not spay/neutered. Supports a ban. Pet stores do
not make sure the adopted animal is going to a good home. Rattie Ratz does. Has
asked Petco to put up signage that there are great animals to adopt at ACC but
it has never been done. Taxing is not the answer. The problem is people don’t know there is a problem. That cages are
too small. That animals at the zoo are suffering. If pet stores have to sell
animals that must partner with rescues.
Lisa Vittori – Favorite line tonight was, “The Northern
California Rat community”. Thanks Petco for coming. Partner had a cockatiel.
Didn’t realize how much work and care it needed until living with it. Confining
animals in small cages is cruel. Petco may be perpetuating the idea that
animals are playthings. Animals live for a long time but that is not considered
when they are bought. Parents only think about making their kids happy. A
waiting period is a good idea. Animals that have more space and intellectual needs
should not be for sale.
Public comment closed
Comr. Gerrie – Can Lori speak to Nadine’s request for the
details of a possible agreement between
Petco and ACC? It was more than just inviting rescues in.
Lori Feazell – We can partner with not only ACC but any
rescue group. If we could fill an entire store with adoptions we would, but if
not, will sell animals. We would dedicate habitat or space for those adoptions
in both SF stores as well as in Colma. We can start immediately.
Comr. Hemphill – Can you tell me your numbers of how many
small animals you sell?
Lori Feazell – Roughly 10,000 animals between the two
stores, excluding fish. That includes white mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs,
chinchillas, all species of birds. Petco advocates that mice for snake food be
frozen. But some people will use live animals for food.
Pam Hemphill – A lot of that 10,000 would be mice?
Lori Feazell – Don’t have the actual numbers. The lowest
number sold would be chinchillas.
Comr. Gerrie – Need time to consider the information we’ve
heard tonight. Not prepared to propose anything at this time.
Comr. Hemphill – We probably still have more information to
Comr. Stephens – Personal inclination is to support a ban
including birds, small animals, and dogs and cats.
Rebecca Katz – Concerned in seeing small animals coming in
from pet stores. Not having that availability would lend itself to education.
Not sure about a partnership between Petco and ACC modeled after the pact
between SPCA and ACC, since Petco does not have full time staff and on site
veterinarians that would allow us to feel comfortable with having our animals
Comr. Gerrie – Wanted to mention that you have been
appointed Director of ACC from interim director. Congratulations.
7. General Public Comment
No public comment
8 & 9 Calendar
items and task allotments
Comr. Stephens – We’ll continue discussion on a possible pet
ban. We’ll also welcome three new Commissioners.
No public comment
10. Adjournment 8:50 PM
Respectfully submitted by