1. Call to Order and
Present Commissioners, Susanna Russo, Geneva Page, Andrea
Brooks, Sally Stephens, Philip Gerrie, Pam Hemphill, Sally Stephens, Jack
Aldridge DVM, Kat Brown – ACC
Absent Commissioners, William Herndon SF Police, Bob Palacio
– Rec. & Park
2. General Public Comment
Richard Fong. – Concerned about park rangers and ACC
officers in GG Park responding to dangerous dogs incidents. Perhaps should be
given tasers or pepper spray to use.
Public comment closed
3. Approval of Draft minutes for June 10, 2010
No Commission nor Public Comment
Minutes approved unanimously.
4. Chairperson’s report and opening remarks
Comr. Stephens – Welcomes new Commissioners.
Comr. Brooks – Training opportunity for disaster relief
certification for animals in SF.
No public comment
5. Unfinished Business
of discussion and possible action to recommend to the Board that they pass an
ordinance prohibiting the sale of dogs, cats and possibly other small animals, including
birds, 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
Comr. Stephens – This discussion has grown out of previous
meetings efforts to decrease euthanasia rates of otherwise healthy adoptable
animals besides dogs and cats. We like to hear from all view points. This is
the fourth month of discussing this issue. The media has said that our agenda
is to get rid of pets and companion animals. That is not true.
Comr. Gerrie – Story about this item had appeared in the
Chronicle but was not reported accurately. The issue is complex and the paper
gave a simplified version. Three years ago I brought to this Commission a
resolution condemning the sale of eggs from battery-caged hens. I had not known
about the issue until just a short time before. Three years later the Governor
has signed AB 1437 prohibiting the selling of eggs from battery-caged hens
expanding on Prop 2 that outlawed the production in the State. Times change.
This issue, tonight, has grown in three months from a proposal to ban the sale
of dogs and cats from puppy mills to considering including other animals as
well, in order to be inclusive and comprehensive in our recommendation to the
Supervisors. Our Commission voted unanimously to include the ‘smalls’,
hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, rats, and chinchillas. The reason to include ‘smalls’ was to lower the number that are surrendered
and euthanized at ACC every year.
Representatives from the largest pet store chain in SF, Petco selling
‘smalls’, came last month and made a case against a ban saying their new
policies significantly lower their ‘smalls’ winding up at ACC. We had talked
about a possible partnership arrangement between ACC and Petco, and other pet
stores, to take ACC’s ‘smalls’ and sell them in their stores. There were
problems with such an arrangement for ACC so that will not be a possibility. We
invited rescues last month to hear about the issues from their side. A
representative from Mickaboo, a bird rescue, told the plight and suffering of
exotic birds, and caged birds in general. Until then, we had not considered
including a ban on birds so the item was tabled until this month. I have
learned a lot of the unseen world of exotic birds this last month. The amount
of attention this issue is getting tells me that there is concern that if SF
adopts a ban on birds it will spread to other cities. The pet industry is a
multi billion dollar business and a perception that there is something wrong
and inhumane with producing animals as commodities will hurt profits although
they make most of their money from pet food and equipment. To frame this as a
right to buy whatever we want is disingenuous. When do we stop exploiting the
buying and selling of animals or, at least, consider the welfare of the animals
Linda Fisher – IDA Captive Bird Campaign Director – Has
dealt with captive bird issues for 25 years. Founded first avian protection
organization. Started when 11 years old. Went into a pet shop and saw a dying
budgie. It was being ignored and left to die. Tried to call attention to its
suffering. Started to cry when no one
came. Was then escorted out of the store by two security guards. Vowed, on the
way home, to stand up for the captive birds. Has done so since then. Not much
has changed in last 25 years in captive bird trade. Birds are purchased,
trashed, and dumped. Works with large collections of captive birds. Millions of
birds enter the captive bird trade. Only a few survive. Breeders over breed to
allow for high mortality rate. Pet store is one level of chance for survival. A
home is another level for survival. Most buyers ill prepared to keep birds.
Budgies die by the millions due to lack of care yet are the third most
intelligent of all avian species. Would love to see SF be a leader in this
crisis. Don’t see birds in shelter because they perish before reaching the
shelter. A ban is way overdue.
Comr. Stephens – If someone treats a bird responsibly,
should they be allowed to have a bird in your opinion?
Linda Fisher – For every person that is loving and
responsible many, many more are not. Birds are dying from neglect, malnutrition
, physical abuse, and starvation. IDA is encouraging to stop breeding and stop buying.
Adopt and rescue instead. The crisis is hidden. Bird owners become hoarders
when the first bird doesn’t respond quite right. They get another. Birds are
wild animals and don’t live up to expectations. They get hormonal surges and
they become aggressive and dangerous. The bird then is abandoned and winds up
at a rescue sanctuary. There are very few in the US and all are overfilled. If you
want a bird and are responsible, adopt a rescue. Don’t breed any more birds.
Comr. Gerrie – Have been exploring other options that are
short of a ban. Is there anything short of a ban that would be effective in
Linda Fisher – If we could stop breeding birds we would
still have plenty of birds in 25 to 30 years. They would be better taken care
of then if there were fewer. Right now there is not another alternative. They
are wild animals. They do not belong in homes.
Stop the breeding and stop the selling.
Mira Tweti – Animal welfare journalist – Has written for LA
Times, NY Times, Village Voice. Wrote
book on domestic parrot trade called “Parrots and People”. Took 5 years to
write. Is about the business of birds in the US. Primary problem with keeping a
bird in the home is that they are flock animals. From birth to death they are
never out of ear sight or eye sight of
another parrot. Bird conservation experts worldwide say the worst thing
you can do to a parrot is keep it alone in a cage. Because of the cost, most
people only buy one bird. Because cages are not attractive in a home, most
people buy the smallest possible cage. The opposite is true at parrot rescues. Rescues give parrots
as much room as possible. Especially helpful for birds with behavior problems
from being kept alone in a small cage. Birds will pluck their feathers and self
mutilate. This is very common. One in ten kept-parrots pluck their feathers.
Have tried to stop by giving Prozac and wearing protective collars around the
neck. Researchers have concluded that plucking is equal to humans cutting
themselves. It releases endorphins and is the only thing they have control
over. Plucking is never seen in the
wild. Is a direct result of captivity. Parrots are wild animals living in
domestic situations. Parrots did not come into the US, in large numbers, until after
WW 2 when plane travel became common. A recent phenomena. Advertisers sell
parrots as decorative items for their houses color scheme. Did story about
Petco freezing unwanted animals. Exposed by Vicky Guldbech of SF ACC. Found to
be the practice across the country. Suspects it might still be. Was done
because if a low cost animal, such as a parakeet, gets sick, it is not worth it
to take it to the vet. Vet bill can be $150 for a $25 bird. Very few Board
certified avian vets in the US.
Of 75,00 vets in the US,
253 are board certified avian. They are specialists and are much more expensive
than regular veterinarians. Parrots make a lot of noise. Trying to make it be
quiet will make it angry and it will want to bite. If it bites every time the
owner reaches into the cage to handle it, it will never come out. They often
wind up in a garage covered by a blanket. Has done over 500 interviews with
bird owners for her book. Most people do
not keep their birds for longer than six months to a year. Parrots live up to
80 years. And will wear out their welcome sooner versus later. If the bird is
lucky, will wind up in a rescue sanctuary. Shows picture of a sanctuary in RI
with 500 parrots. There are over a 1000 parrot rescue in the US now. Started
doing research 15 years ago. When first started, rescue received calls once or
twice a month. Then once or twice a week.
Currently rescues are getting calls daily and turning down birds.
Reasons are many. “Bought it for son who is now in college”. “Moving”. “Got
divorced”. “Got married”. “Had a baby”. Bottom line is there a now 1000’s of
rescue birds. Anyone that wants one can have one for the cost of an adoption
fee. As with dogs, as long as dogs are available for adoption, the idea of
breeding dogs doesn’t make sense. Not all dogs are bred in a puppy mill but all
birds are bred in a parrot mill. Shows picture of wooden boxes in trailer each
with a breeding bird inside. Breeders start off with good intentions but each
reinvents the wheel. Common practice now is to keep birds in the dark. Without
outside stimulation, the thinking is, that is all they will have to do. Breed.
These are parrot mills. It is proven that only a rare person can meet a
parrot’s demands. They need enrichments. There are so many unwanted parrots
right now that people could have as many as they want for the next 20 years.
Many more unwanted birds are predicted in the near future. Average parrot has 7
owners in first ten years of its life. The reason they are not turned over to
the pound is that they were so expensive they are, instead, given to relatives
or friends. A ban would go far to protect them. They have no protection now. It
is hard to prove abuse. Animal welfare people entering into a home can easily
tell if a dog is abused but not a bird. Can’t tell about a bird. They have no
training and are afraid of them. SB 1357 was passed requiring information to be
given about an animal when purchased. It started out to include seminars on pet
care, a waiting period before purchase, and fees. It got watered down to be
meaningless. Anything less than a ban will not work. There is no way to enforce
half measures unless ACC inspects every week. In 1992 the Wild Bird
Conservation Act was passed saying no more wild birds could come in from the
wild. Critics of the Act said that smuggling would increase. They were wrong.
Smuggling stopped because smuggled birds came in with other birds and no birds
were coming in. Same with a ban. As soon as something is illegal, the average
person will think twice. A ban could possibly save the lives of millions of
animals as it will spread since SF is a leader in animal welfare.
Comr. Brooks – Our recommendations are aimed at just SF. Received feedback last month
that a ban’s effect would address a huge problem elsewhere. But would impact
SF’s birds and especially responsible small pet store owners who are not a part
of the problem.
Mira Tweti – Articles I’ve written for the LA Times have
helped pass 4 pieces of legislation on the State level. One bill, outlawing the
selling of baby birds, was opposed by many small pet store owners saying they
would go out of business not being able to sell baby birds. It didn’t happen.
The money is made in items for the animal such as food and products such as
perches and toys. There are always casualties in this sort of legislation. The
ban on importation in 1992 put quarantine stations, and those affiliated, out
of business. The US
was importing 500,000 birds every year. Many lost their jobs. PIJAC, the pet
industry lobbying group, estimated that in 1996 there were 40 million parrots
in the US.
Birds may be added to the Animals Welfare Act that currently has no protection.
Currently bird breeders have said they are putting 2 million more birds on the
market every year. Total current number are 50 to 60 million parrots now in the
Interviewed Joy Mench, of UC Davis, a leading bird researcher in the US, talked
about a definition of animal welfare. “It is not how well you are treating an
animal. It is looking at what the animal does in the wild and then how it is
being kept in captivity. If it is a huge difference, animal welfare is not
good.” A parrot would never live indoors. Animal welfare relates to each
specific animal. To a parrot the difference is night and day. Supports a ban
even if it affects some businesses. If Petco makes 97% of its money from
ancillary materials, should be true for other pet stores. Comparing to the
number of animals being helped by a ban it is worth to look to the animal
Karen Watkins – Mickaboo Bird Rescue – Has 30 Amazons in foster
care currently. 20 are from SF. Has only one foster actually in SF. They do
take the Amazons that are medically needy and need vet care. Not seeing a
balance of support in SF. People think they can feed an Amazon seeds for its
whole life. Amazons come in, from a seed diet, their bones are rubbery, and
they die an early painful death. Knows there are small stores that breed birds
but believes they can make the transition to rescues. They could also offer
classes on how to care for animals. Also hears that breeders are not taking
their birds back. Good dog breeders take dogs back if the placement does not
work out. Supports ban.
Teresa Murphy – Guinea pigs are referred to as cavies.
Founded and runs the Cavy Spirit guinea pig rescue in San Mateo since 1999. Has relationships with
shelters in Northern CA. Has pulled many cavies from SF ACC. Has founded
largest internet guinea pig forum with half a million posts. Has created a
bigger cage size for guinea pigs that has been accepted worldwide for years. Almost all guinea pigs surrendered were
purchased from pet stores. Statistics of guinea pigs at shelters are
misleading. Only lucky ones make it to the shelters. They are often set free
and face certain death from starvation, exposure, predators, and poisons. Many
shelters in the Bay Area do not accept small animals. One thinks, when getting
a small animal, of pet store. Typical pattern, after an impulse buy from a pet
store for a child, is to get a phone call six months later asking if they can
take it because it is too much work to take care of. Adopting from a shelter
saves additional lives because shelter and rescue resources are freed up.
Compares the puppy mills, which are bad, to the small animal mills which are
horrific. Small animals bring people into pet stores but they make their money
on pet supplies, etc. That process is morally bankrupt, treating animals as
commodities. Rescues have a huge financial and time burden taking care of the
animals sold from pet stores. Needs to stop. Only when there are no more
homeless animals in shelters and at rescues should pet stores be allowed to
sell more animals. There are so many homeless animals now that cannot keep up
with the calls. Volunteers burnt out by both time and money. Great that many
people do internet research first but many still buy on impulse and that is the
Marcy Schaaf – Founder and director SaveABunny rabbit rescue
– Current ban on rabbits has been extremely helpful in keeping the population
down. Most shelters get many rabbits. One reason ACC only gets 160 rabbits a
year versus 800 is the ban keeps the numbers down. At least half the rabbits
that come into SF come from Serramonte Pet Store. This is an emotional issue.
Nothing more emotional than going into a shelter and deciding who gets to live
or die. This ban is about protecting animals not just profits. Not many people
rescue other animals besides cats & dogs. Works with Bay Area shelters to
spread the adoptable rabbits equally between shelters and own rescue. Rescue of
the other small animals, rats, hamster, guinea pigs, etc. Would love to have
pet stores take their adoptables. Rescues clean up the animals sold at pet
stores that are not spay/neutered or owners who have inadequate knowledge of
care. Everyone can win from this ban.
Comr. Stephens – Do you do partnerships with pet stores?
Marcy Schaaf – Yes, particularly Pet Food Express because
they do not sell any animals. We are reluctant to sell in stores such as Petco
since they still sell the rats, chinchillas and other small animals.
Comr. Stephens – What do you do in the partnerships?
Marcy Schaaf – We have adoption events and teach class in
Comr. Stephens – How do you respond to people just going
down to Serramonte and getting their animals there?
Marcy Schaaf – Is not against the law to sell an animal and
would love to work with Peninsula Humane Society. Goal is, until there are
no more homeless animals, they should
not be for sale. Would call Serramonte pet every time a rabbit showed up at
ACC. Wewere hung up on. When greed is the motive, not much one can do.
Comr. Stephens – Rabbits have been banned since 76? Do you
Marcy Schaaf – Believe it had to do with sale of rabbits at
Easter. Still dealing with it now. Birth rate of small animals is astronomical.
Even if a store sells one sex and not the other, there is no guarantee that
they won’t breed.
Elizabeth Young – Understands how this could seem outrageous
to someone not in animal rescue. However the whole system is broken. We keep
breeding and selling cute little animals. They are taken home and the person
that bought them grows up and moves away, or they are too noisy, or too
destructive. Feels for ACC staff that have to euthanize more and more every
day. The rescues are overwhelmed in time and money. Mickaboo has spent 80 K on
avian vet bills so far this year. Mickaboo spends a lot of time fund raising
and dealing with more birds surrendered. Commends Commission for taking the
issue up. Have learned that what was OK in the past, animals performing for our
amusement at animal parks, is no longer acceptable. It is cruel to the animals.
Appreciated learning a new definition of animal welfare tonight, comparing its
life in the wild to its life as a pet. Hard issue to handle. Pet store people are
very nice and buying a pet has pleasant childhood memories for many of us. It’s
the other side of when that pet is dumped in the park or just set free and not
talked about. Few survive but the vast majority die. Mickaboo has, right now,
50 cockatiels for adoption. They can live for 25 years. They have as much
intelligence and feelings and emotion and desire as any creature. Has
volunteered at ACC and has seen often on surrender cards reason for a
cockatiels’ surrender was bad behavior. Mickaboo, right now, has 42 conures, 66
budgies, 23 macaws, Not anti-business
but rather pro animal. Pro mercy. People have gotten it with dogs and
cats. Pet stores, in SF, have self-selected to not sell dogs and cats. People
get it that the shelters are full of dogs and cats that need homes. Birds are
right there. Many more birds have been adopted in the last 20 years than before
that time. Birds being bred today are most likely going to be serially homed,
surrendered, winding up at a shelter. Please help. 50 cockatiels need homes.
Need volunteers to help adopt and foster. Plenty of work to go around. Receive
calls about ads on Criag’s list about free birds at garage sales. Doesn’t have
time to take care of birds brought in let alone going to garage sales to rescue
those birds. Regarding going out of town to buy a banned animal, can’t stop
cruelty outside of the City but it is good to stop it within. Proud to live in
SF because of what has been done first here. If dogs and cats were confined the
way birds are, it would be considered abuse. Even if well taken care of. They
need to be in flocks. They need the right balance of sunlight, and nutrients
and companionship. Let’s take care of the animals that are already here. Thanks
Commission for taking on a hard issue.
Comr. Gerrie – How do you screen potential adopters?
Young – It is a long hard process. If personally didn’t rescue birds they would
be euthanized instead. Will not place an animal that will suffer as a result.
First, a written application. Then a bird-care class, a 2 1/2 hour class. Class
incorporates latest avian science. Constantly updated. Bird care 10 years ago
has been found to be inadequate. After that, a phone screen, a quiz to see what
they remember from the class of do’s and don’ts. Class also dispels myths about
birds. After phone screening, a home visit. Also, a lot of support and
hand-holding along the way.
Comr. Stephens – How long does that all take on average?
Elizabeth Young – Depends on the adopter and how overwhelmed
the unpaid volunteers are at the time. Is a labor of love. Has a current
situation where a women wants her bird out of her house now. Mickaboo doesn’t
have a spot for it but is afraid of what the woman will do if not taken. Time
varies from 2 weeks to six weeks. Depending when a class is available. Advises
to be patient and persistent with Mickaboo. Volunteers are busy.
Comr. Aldridge – How successful is your program? What
percentage are successful matches?
Elizabeth Young – Our goal is to find a forever home. By the
time a bird gets to Mickaboo it has been bred, purchased, given away, etc. The
bird has been through a lot. We want to make very sure it goes to a permanent
home. If the adopter can’t take care of it or keep it, Mickaboo wants it back.
Mickaboo has been in existence for 15 years. Beginning to see some birds
returning originally adopted from Mickaboo. Don’t have statistics. Would be a
great project for someone to undertake. Has a much higher success rate than pet
stores because people self-select out as they learn what the bird they want
requires. A pet bird can be heard around the house. A loud exotic bird can be
heard around the neighborhood.
Comr. Stephens – Do you do adoption events at pet stores??
Elizabeth Young – Mickaboo partners with Petfood Express because
they don’t sell birds. Mickaboo’s birds are under strict quarantine so chooses
not to sell in pet stores that have birds. Has relationship with Andy’s Pet
Shop in San Jose,
an all-rescue pet shop.
Carly Message – Outreach Coordinator for SaveABunny – SF’s
ban on rabbits have definitely decreased number of rabbits coming into ACC.
Takes rabbits from local shelters to outreach events. Sees the small animal
room at ACC always full of hamsters, guinea pigs, mice, etc. Definitely being
dumped. Wonders why animals that live only two or three years are being dumped.
As an educator about caring for rabbits, recommends returning rabbit cages in
favor of exercise pens. Freely works with people who have bought rabbits from
pet stores outside of SF. They had no idea how much work was involved in caring
for a rabbit.
Dr. Elliot Katz – Animal owners should think of themselves
as guardians rather than owners of commodities. Thanks Commission for bringing
this forward and to the rescues for speaking.
Rick French – Owner of Animal Company – Presents petitions
signed against a ban. Apx. 2300 signatures gathered in three weeks. Also have
3000 signatures in an online petition. Unaware of ACWC until three weeks ago.
Numbers speak for themselves. Will address issue in three ways. First, Mickaboo
says that untold number of birds are abandoned, released, put on craigslist all
the fault of pet stores. Thinking is that adding an animal should always come
from a shelter or rescue. Not always feasible. Mickaboo’s numbers are totally
false. They don’t have the facts on paper to back what they say. According to
Rebecca Katz, at ACC, only sees 30-40 birds a year at ACC. None have been
euthanized. Mickaboo is under false assumptions. Overwhelmed by their own
policies. They don’t work with pet stores nor breeders. Animal Company has been
in business for 35 years. Took it over 10 years ago. Contacted Mickaboo then.
Offered support to them. Response was they did not work with pet stores. Their
adoption requirements are arduous at best. Takes months to adopt a bird all the
while the adoptee is in a foster home without as much training as the potential
adopter. Their intentions are good but policies are misguided. Not far apart,
pet stores and rescues. Pet store pays taxes when a bird is sold. Rescues adopt out for a fee.
That fee is not necessarily cheaper than a retail bird would be. Cites case of
someone taking a rescued amazon for $900 and waited a year to be accepted.
Second, ACC should open their doors to other qualified rescue groups. A rescue,
that Animal Company works with, has been told by ACC they only work with
Mickaboo. No one from ACC or any rescue
group has been to our store and offered to work with us or asked for our help.
No rescue group has ever contacted us
for anything. If we work together and educate the public, these issues can be
resolved. Recently confiscated rabbits, from the Mission, are being sold, spayed/neutered at
ACC for $60. Can buy a rabbit a pet store in Serramonte for $25. Potential
buyer will rather go there to buy it cheaper. If ACC lowers adoption fees will
find homes for those animals faster. ACC’s cost of caring will be lessened
because they are adopted out faster. ACC should have a mobile adoption vehicle.
Bring the animals to the people. ACC needs to communicate with the stores.
Matter of education not legislation. If ACC would notify the pet stores what is
available, would be glad to post it and help find homes. Little difference
between pet stores and rescues since both ‘sell’ birds. Mistake for Commission to recommend a ban.
Pet stores contribute jobs, services, and tax revenue to the community. Rescues
charge an adoption fee which can be as expensive as buying a bird in a store.
Other laws passed in SF; illegal to eat an orange in the bath tub, can’t fly a
kite above 10 feet, forbids elephants from strolling down Market St without a
leash, have to have a permit to be a cross dresser and, favorite, wipe a car
windshield with used underwear. If ban is passed SF would be first city to join
that group of laws.
Comr. Stephens – Do you educate and screen buyers?
Rick French – Try to match right people with the right bird.
Comr. Stephens – Have you ever not sold a bird to someone?
Rick French – Yes, occasionally. We have a handout. Offer a free vet visit.
Guarantee bird as to health. We breed a lot of the birds ourselves.
Comr. Hemphill – Saw poster in Animal Company’s window,
“Protect Our Precious Animals”, POPA, would describe rescues as saving our
precious animals. Not sure if the right to sell goes in that category. Could
that be confusing to all those that signed the petition? How are you protecting
our precious animals?
Rick French – We protect them no differently than anybody
else does. We try to find loving homes for them.
Comr. Hemphill – How does not supporting a ban protect our
Rick French – We are protecting our right to choose.
Comr. Hemphill – With rescues you can have those animals
Rick French – We are not that far apart, rescue and retail.
They adopt out for a fee. We sell them for a fee. It’s not that different
except they are not paying the taxes, we are.
Comr. Hemphill – How should we deal with too many animals?
Rick French – Responsible pet owners take care of their
animals. Numbers of abused/abandoned birds may not be as high as told. Rescues
lead you to believe a lot more birds are thrown away then there really are.
Comr. Hemphill – What will stop breeders from continuing to
turn out large numbers of birds?
Rick French – People think that bird breeding is like
hamsters that breed like crazy. Bird breeders hope they will breed. A breeder is lucky if a pair has two
offspring in one year.
Comr. Hemphill – Believes that one reason there are not so
many birds at ACC is they are taken by rescue groups.
Rick French – Only one
rescue group. Only 30 to 40 come in a year. The greater Bay Area has apx.
Comr. Hemphill – Do you remember when we didn’t have rescues?
Rick French – There were good Samaritans out there for
Comr. Aldridge – You didn’t know that the ACWC existed until
three weeks ago? I wonder why? You’ve had a pet store for 35 years?
Rick French – The store has been there for 35. I’ve had it
for ten years.
Comr. Aldrdge – Would you say we have been working in
Rick French – Yes, as well as ACC. Banning the sale of these
is any easy way out. Call us. A rescue has never come to our store. ACC only
comes to have a bird wings or nails trimmed. There’s no communication. So I
didn’t know you existed. Education and communication is the way to go.
Comr. Stephens – What do you think of a waiting period to
prevent the impulse by? Or any other ideas short of a ban?
Rick French – Work with us. Have mobile adoptions. The SPCA will have adoption events down the street.
Why not come up to my store? Welcomed Mickaboo to come but they turned us down
10 years ago. Flat. We will place rescue birds and help Mickaboo to relieve the
Comr. Gerrie – How would a ban affect your business?
Rick French – Don’t want to think about it. A pet store by
definition sells pets. If we didn’t have birds would be selling bags of dog
food at a 15% margin. I wouldn’t be there long.
Comr. Gerrie – How did you get into the business?
Rick French - Purchased the store 10 years ago. Have been in
the business since 1969.
Comr. Gerrie – When I was working on the battery-cage issue,
people would say they have a right to cheap eggs. They have a right to choose cheap eggs. I have a
right to choose no matter what suffering the animal goes through and crossing
over to birds and the right to abuse and mistreat animals as pets.
Rick French – There are people that will always abuse and
mistreat animals. People will abuse children. We will not ban people from
Comr. Gerrie – I had a hard time with your poster
‘protecting our precious animals’ and a person’s right to choose.
Rick French – Yes, a right to raise those animals, a right
to breed those animals. A right to purchase those animals wherever one likes.
Comr. Gerrie – Mira showed a picture of animals in boxes, a
Rick French – That is a misnomer. She had a picture of some
baby birds. I can show you pictures of orphanages in Russia
You can always show pictures of bad practices. That’s just sensationalism. It
Comr. Gerrie – How many birds do you sell a week or a month?
Rick French – It’s a range. We sell more finches than
parrots. Perhaps 3 or 4 parrots a month. Parakeets are a good starter bird for
kids. Any child that has not been brought up with a pet is deprived and grows
up to not be a complete adult. The responsibility that goes along with taking
care of a pet. The picking out of that pet in a pet store or a rescue.
They have that choice. A rescue or a pet store.
Comr. Gerrie – How do you know where the animals you sell
will wind up in a year or two?
Rick French – Have had the store for ten years. Have been
breeding birds for 30 years. Many customers return.
Comr. Gerrie – That is anecdotal. Only the happy customers
Rick French – Many that are not happy return and we try to
resolve their problems.
Dana Strome – Founder Wing Foundation – A parrot rescue and
rehabilitation center in SF. Started in 1989 with first parrot. Traveled to all
the countries where parrots are from to see them in the wild. Sees the best and
worst of people, rescuing them from horrible situations and finding them loving
homes. Parrots are wild animals but domestically raised. Parrots are pets and
here to stay. Questions if banning is the right way to go. When first started
rescuing, approached Mickaboo for support. Never received a reply. Have
volunteered to help at ACC but had been turned down repeatedly. Peninsula Human
does partner. Doesn’t charge adoption fee. Observes potential adopters when they
come to look at the adoptable birds. Shows them the destruction they can cause
and what they sound like. Has arrangement with avian vet for anyone that adopts
a bird from her, a special fee. Available 24 hours a day for people that adopt
and has special fund to help adopters with vet bills. Can’t set the bar too
high for potential adopters. Have heard from some adopters that Mickaboo’s
standards are difficult to meet. Would prefer everyone work together for the
welfare of parrots. Anyone that really wants a parrot will get one. People
worried that the ban would mean they wouldn’t be able to own a parrot anymore.
Have worked with the Animal Company. Believes education is the way to go.
Doesn’t want to drive parrot owners underground. Offers self as part of the solution
Comr. Brooks – How many birds do you take in in a year?
Dana Strome – 20 to 30. Never turns a bird away. Doesn’t see
as many birds being given up as other rescues. Works with people to try and get
them to keep their bird with behavioral issues. Has issue with charging a fee
for readoption. Some relinquished birds do not make great pets and a rescue
should be paying them to take the bird instead.
Comr. Gerrie – How many people work with you at the Wing
Dana Strome – People work with me across the country. Works
with many bird sanctuaries as well as
Claudia Hunka – Owner, Your Basic Bird in Berkeley– Opposed to ban. Supports small
neighborhood pet stores. Local pet stores are part of the community. A place
where children first learn respect for animals. Provides choices as to what
type of animal is best suited to a family. Makes effort to make good matches.
Refers calls about injured birds to wildlife centers and appropriate rescue
groups. Educates new pet owners and continues to offer support care to long
term customers. Many birds are placed and stay in loving homes their entire life. Birds stay in homes over
20 years. Small animals 6 to 10 years. Placing a ban on bird sales in pet
stores where many birds are rescued is detrimental. Our store rehomed, last
year, over 30 birds. We rehome small animals as well, many had not originally
come from our store. Cannot stop people wanting a companion animal in their
life but that is exactly what the
animal rights groups want. People will just go to other locations and receive
less support than they would from their local pet store. Opposed to a ban. It
is symbolic and will do nothing to solve the problem of animals needing to be
rehomed. Has partnered with Hopalong Cat Rescue for over 15 years. Adopts out
100 cats a year. Why is the number of cats not decreasing? Cats are not sold in
pet shops in SF nor Berkeley. Over population of dogs and cats will not
decrease with a ban on their sale. Problem is a lack of no-cost spay/neutering.
The SF SPCA brought lots of animals in from outside SF when there were SF
animals to be dealt with. Perhaps a non-profit could obtain money for such a
program. According to US Today, Puerto Rico
alone has shipped over 14,000 strays in last seven years. Hope animal shelters
are communicating with each other first to rescue US animals first. There is no
evidence that animals winding up in a shelter first came from a pet store.
Banning selling dogs would not increase rescue adoptions. Important to match up
right animal with the right person. Want to work together to rescue as many
animals as possible. Commenting as a pet
store owner for 29 years, important to teach birds to forage to avoid stress.
Rescues have come to learn how to feed baby birds from Basic Bird pet shop.
Parrots are flock animals but will accept humans and dogs and other animals as
part of their flock. Believes a ban is not the best way. Does not see problems
with most birds. Rescues only see the
Comr. Stephens – Had formed coalition on program for
low-cost spay/neuter in SF.
Claudia Hunka – Needs to be a zero cost.
Comr. Stephens – That would be ideal. Coalition is working
on getting grants to develop programs in problem neighborhoods. The horror
stories about pet stores are associated
more with the national chains than the independent stores. What do you think
about a ban for the national stores versus the local ones?
Claudia Hunka – PIJAC has been working on legislation to
address pet care in pet stores, including segregating animals by sex at stores.
New laws would give ACC more ways of dealing with stores not in compliance.
Small animals have been ruined by inbreeding.
Mary Ellen LePage – VP American Federation of
Aviculture(AFA) – By Federal law indigenous birds are not allowed to be kept as
pets. An indigenous bird given to the
SPCA for health reasons should not be a cause to stop pet ownership. By Federal
law exotic birds, which are allowed to be pets, may not be imported. In 1992
the Wild Bird Conservation Act completely stopped bird importation. Healthy
exotic birds should never be
euthanized. All the exotic birds are endangered species to some extent. Birds
are not easy to breed. Own 30 birds but had only 2 babies this year. Treats own
birds very well. Most pet stores do a good job in caring for animals. If
deficiencies occur the remedy is education or setting standards of care. Not
banning. Calling bird breeders parrot
mills is not fair. They are breeding to perpetuate endangered species. Know
many breeders and bird owners. One thing is common is a passion for the birds
and to take best possible care of them. Many bird species are almost extinct in
the wild but are raises successfully in the US. Perhaps to become the only
source for their survival. A lot of presentations today had a lot of theories
with no facts. Rescues see only the
very worst of the bird trade. Believes this is very much of a minority however.
A bigger picture is of all the people that love birds – are in happy homes –
the joy that they bring. Biased opinions have been presented. Parrots are
adaptable. We don’t know if they suffer in a cage. Don’t know what causes
plucking. Cause is not known. Had a bird that was plucking. Took it to a vet.
He gave it an antibiotic. It is now growing all of its feathers back. AFA
believes there are no reliable statistics of the bird relinquishment problem.
Banning will impact everyone for the sake of a small minority of birds. AFA
opposes the ban in its entirety and especially the inclusion of birds.
Comr. Russo- Can you explain the difference between and
exotic and indigenous bird as regards to pet ownership?
Mary Ellen LePage – Indigenous birds are the ones we see
where we live. Exotics are from other countries that were imported before the
law stopped importations.
Comr. Russo – Please explain why it is OK to have an exotic bird as a pet but not an indigenous
Mary Ellen LePage –Probably Fish and Wildlife did not want
us messing with our normal flora. USDA has been working on a lot of new
regulations for aviculture that will be rolled out in September. Behoove you to
not pass laws here until we see what the Feds are going to do.
Comr. Gerrie – Any idea what the Feds are up to?
Mary Ellen LePage – They’ve been working on it for a couple
of years and are up to a whole lot.
Comr. Gerrie – What are they focusing on that is not OK now?
Mary Ellen LePage – They were sued my animal rights people
to step up oversight of bird breeding and aviculture.
Comr. Gerrie – How does the AFA help the bird community?
Mary Ellen LePage – Primarily education. Educating people
how to take care of birds.
Comr. Gerrie – How do you do that?
Mary Ellen LePage – With a periodical called the
“Watchbird”, keep in regular contact with our members, give a convention once a
year with excellent speakers, have an online course called “Fundamentals of
Comr. Gerrie – How do you interact with the rescues that do
a lot of educating? Is it a parallel effort or different?
Mary Ellen LePage – Some rescues are AFA members. They have
a lot of input. We have rescue speakers at the conventions. Suggest a pilot
program to adopt birds from the SPCA. Not from rescue groups. Rescues make it too complicated. It would be nice if the
SFSPCA worked directly with people wanting to adopt birds. Rehoming is very
good thing. The Rescue make it sound terrible. Have helped to rehome many birds
and the birds adapt real well.
Comr. Aldridge – Clarifies that the ACC takes birds. The
SFSPCA doesn’t. The ASPCA is based in
NY and is not connected to the local SPCA.
Steve Duncan – President Avicultural Society of America, ASA –
Was founded in 1926. Goal is to educate about birds in captivity and promote
bird welfare. Has personally bred birds for over 35 years. Has owned retail pet
stores. Lectures around the country. Helped with PIJAC to pass AB1437 setting
pet store standards. Has seen many changes over 35 years. Has always seen
rehoming going on. Traditionally, breeders and pet stores have done this. Now
rescues and sanctuaries do this. Birds adapt very well with being rehomed.
Believes it is more traumatic on the bird owner than the bird itself. Not a
problem. Contrary to other pets, birds that are 10 or 20 years old still have a
market value because they are still desirable. There is not an over population problem. It is more a problem of rescue
organization’s policies. Giving a bird, you can no longer keep, to a rescue, or
a rescue sanctuary, sounds much more acceptable and noble than just selling
one’s bird. Pet owners are looking for a place for their animals that is
acceptable emotionally. A pet store is just as qualified to find new good
homes. It is not a problem of over population. It is a combination that rescues
are the preferred way to rehome one’s pet and their adoption policies that make
it difficult for an animal to get out. If they don’t want to let them out
easily, rescues will have a lot of birds. As a breeder, is often contacted by
bird owners to rehome birds and sees what happens when they are placed in a new
home or into own facility. They adapt very well. It is not a problem finding
homes as long as you are not overly
restrictive. It is important to not be too lax but it is not that difficult to
do. As to Mira’s slide of the dark trailer and the boxes. There is a
misunderstanding. The birds are not locked into those cages and forced to
breed. In the wild parrots breed in hollows in trees. Their natural nesting
cavities are very dark and secure. The wooden boxes are replicating natural
conditions. They can enter into it through a hole that looks like a hole in a
tree trunk. If we are lucky they will breed. It isn’t as easy as dogs and cats.
A lot of misinformation is being spread by the other side. Citing a quote from
Mira’s LA Times article that the flocks of feral pets flying around LA are a
sign of people’s dissatisfaction with their pet birds. The wild flocks in LA
have been around since the 50’s. A few escaped then and have bred in the wild.
The wild parrots are up to 4,000 birds now. They have nothing to do with
people’s dissatisfaction. If a pet bird is discarded out the window it will not
survive. It doesn’t know how or will be eaten by predators. Hope that I have
exposed some of the misinformation presented earlier. What was presented
earlier is not at all factual. Such as the expanding numbers in captivity. The
American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, APPMA, puts out a survey of
pet birds every two years. They say that the pet bird population has been
relatively stable for many years. The trend is not building up to a crisis.
Another comment is that if we stop breeding now we will have pet birds for 20
to 30 years. The APPMA has determined that 80% of the pet birds are budgies,
cockatiels, finches, doves, etc. They average living only 10 years. Only
exceptional birds live an exceptionally long time. If we stop breeding today,
birds will be very difficult to find within ten years. Or less. Want to
recognize that pet stores and bird breeders concerns are not much different
than the rescue community. We want to work together to find new homes for their
animals. We are not polarizing the issue. We are not proposing bans. We are not
proposing that rescues follow the same restrictions that breeders do. The
restrictive language and hyperbole is coming from those that want a ban. What
purpose are we solving by pushing this proposal forward? Flew up from LA for
this meeting. SF wants to be progressive and hopes this ban will spread across
the country. Don’t want it to spread because it is wrong. It is not solving a
problem. It is creating a problem. It is
establishing a trend of preventing people from pet bird ownership. That is a
bad thing. Having a relationship with an
exotic bird, as a pet, helps people to care what is happening to those birds in
the wild. The domestic supply of parrots in the US prevents birds being smuggled
in. The market for smuggled birds is destroyed with healthier domestically
Comr. Gerrie – This format is challenging because it is not
a back and forth but one side presents while the other side has to sit on their
hands. You mentioned that before rescues breeders and pet stores helped to
rehome birds. Sounds like a basis for a partnership. Why are rescues here today
if breeders and pet stores were doing the work?
Steve Duncan – Sign of the times. Rhetoric is ‘adopt don’t
buy’. Rescues will not work with anyone that sells or breeds animals. The
number of birds available at rescues would be snapped up by pet stores if they
would cooperate. By they won’t because of their anti-breeding philosophy. The
mentality now is that breeding an animal
and selling an animal is wrong. Doesn’t see how rescue charging an adoption fee
is any different than anyone selling an animal. The adoption fee is comparable
to what a retailer sell the animal for.
Plus the adopter has to fulfill volunteer hours. Only two explanations
for the rescues behavior. 1. Doesn’t believe people should own birds. 2. Or
they don’t want the competition from pet stores.
Comr. Gerrie – Would like to understand how one knows when a
bird is “adapting quite well” How do you measure or benchmark that?
Steve Duncan – Primarily behaviorally. Does it appear well
adjusted? Showing normal natural behavior. Some birds like human company. Some
birds like to be left alone. They don’t want to be taken out of the cage. But
rescues will try to force human interactions on the birds. Would like if people
would drop the anti-breeding, anti-selling rhetoric and just work with us.
Personally raises birds to be sold at pet stores, not to the general public.
Bird pet stores are better at dealing with the public who specialize in that.
Have too many birds to take care of. Public should get their supplies from pet
Comr. Hemphill – How many birds do you sell annually?
Steve Duncan – This issue is not about how many birds I
Comr. Hemphill – Hundreds? Thousands?
Steve Duncan – I sell hundreds.
Comr. Hemphill – 900? 800?
Steve Duncan – How many birds I sell is immaterial to the
issue before this Commission. I don’t see the reason for it.
Comr. Hemphill – You said the USDA is going to be making
some laws. What restrictions do you think is reasonable to place on breeders?
Steve Duncan – This was from a lawsuit brought by the Doris
Day Animal League. The suit was over the USDA not regulating rats, mice and
birds used in research. The lawsuit thought it was wrong for those animals not
to be regulated. The lawsuit was settled with the USDA who will now begin to
regulate them. The USDA is developing
those regulations now. Right now birds, rats, and mice, used only for research,
are exempted by an act of Congress. Birds, rats, and mice raised for the pet
industry will soon be covered as are other animals from the pet industry. Those animals will now be covered. There will
be cage-size standards, transport standards, exhibition standards. Even zoos
have to be licensed under USDA Animal Welfare Act regulations because they are
exhibiting mammals. They currently wouldn’t need to be licensed by USDA if they
only exhibiting birds. Breeders would also fall under new regulations that
currently only oversee dogs and cats.
Comr. Hemphill – Would you describe the ASA as a trade organization?
Steve Duncan – No. We’re a 501 (c)(3) educational foundation. We have a facebook
page to answer questions from anyone. We have an e-mail list and answer
questions that way. We have hundreds of breeders, pet owners, and behaviorists.
We have many outlets to get educational material out. We have a magazine. We
are developing a care sheet specific to each species.
Comr. Hemphill – You work for them full time?
Steve Duncan – I am volunteer and the president.
William Miller – SF physician – Everyone here is concerned
about how society deal with unwanted animals. Impressed by the bird rescue
people. Has owned four birds. Currently has two African Gray parrots. Considers
them as children and part of the household. Shocked by statements made by first
two rescue speakers. They painted a very negative picture. One picture of birds
in small cages could be misleading because sometimes birds are put in small
cages to transport them, not for them to live in. Has known many bird owners
and found them to be loving and caring. They are extremely interested in
learning how to make their birds feel most at home. There is tons of stuff on
the internet providing information of bird care. Compares view of rescues to
view having been a physician in an inner-city hospital. If only looked at who
came in for treatment would conclude that all humans are homeless drug addicts.
Had to remember that not everyone had a health issue or could be a patient.
Unfair to group all bird owners as inept bumblers. Counters comment about how
rare and expensive avian vets are. There are a lot of avian vets in the Bay
Area. Three are in the West Portal neighborhood. Recommends Brian Speer as an
expert in bird care and author of many books on birds. There are many reasons
birds pluck their feathers. Not just stress. Own bird started plucking his
feathers one day. Quickly concluded that plucking could only mean the bird was
abused. Took the bird to Dr Speer, Couldn’t find a reason. Didn’t seem to hurt
when plucking. Decided to treat is like an adolescent who wants a Mohawk. Just
let the bird do what it wants. Opposed to forcing people to go to rescue places
if they want a companion pet because those birds can have real issues. Had a
rescue cockatoo once. Since passed. Was a handful, screamed, chewed on
everything. Very destructive. Would be horrible for a first time bird owner be
forced to go to a rescue and have that type of bird be their first bird
experience. A bird that has developed destructive or disruptive behavior is a
huge handful. Ban is well meaning but
poorly conceived. Suggest other solutions. Mandate giving literature for bird
care when a bird is sold. Another mandate could be a sign of things one needs
to know before buying a particular bird. Perhaps a waiting period of even an
hour would force people to rethink their impulse buy. SF is known for being
liberal and forward thinking but this is very conservative. People should have
the right to go to a pet store and buy a bird.
Comr. Hemphill – If the ban did not include birds would you support it?
William Miller – No. Philosophically passing laws to make
people behave correctly is not the way to go. A ban is an extreme approach. Believes a ban against sales is a veneer for a
ban against ownership. Having an animal is to have a connection with a bit of
Comr. Hemphill – ACC and the rescues don’t have money for
literature. Would the pet stores and breeders supply the materials?
William Miller – If the City feels this is an important
issue, the City could provide grant money to rescues to do that. If we thought
this was important enough we could provide agreed-upon literature, put together
by both sides, that would be handed out upon the sale of an animal. The
literature could include helpful phone numbers in case of problems. Can’t
believe people don’t care about their pets. They may abuse their pets the way they may abuse their children but the solution
is not to take their kid away but to provide better parenting skills. Provide a
phone number for when there are issues or problems with the bird’s behavior.
Comr. Gerrie – I believe the Pet Store Animal Care Act of
2009 already requires pet stores to provide such information.
Dian Amble – SF Director Animal Voter’s Alliance – Has been rescuing wild or hurt
animals since age 12. Used to rescue hurt raccoons who were nesting underneath
a house but now homeowners are told by ACC to wait until babies grow and leave
and then seal the opening. A case of
education preventing harm. Believes in obeying the law. A proposed ban is a
violation of federal law. The 10th amendment has a commerce clause.
One cannot interfere with commerce, ie. the sale of animals which are goods.
The ban would also put people out of work that supply pets with food. A ban
interferes with free enterprise. Working together with pet store owners and
breeders, a solution can be found. Is also president of SPCA in San Joaquin.
Offers a 800 # for behavior problems. Collaboration is the way to go not a
Roland Cristo – Has been raising birds for 50 years.
Co-founder of Africans for Bird Conservation, Corrects earlier statement that
parrots were not common until after WW 2. Not true. Robinson’s pet shop in SF
carried all kinds of birds before WW 2. Corrects statement of 1992 Wild Bird
Conservation Act. It only prohibits importation of birds on the CITES list.
Rescues can be extreme. A rescue in Colorado
had two black parrots, very rare. They refused to allow them to be bred even to
preserve their rare species. They wanted them turned into pets. Unlisted species of parrots are still coming
in. Breeds all sorts of birds including shamas. Go to shama.com to hear its
song. It is not right to ban the sale of birds. Shouldn’t ban anything. There
is no parrot problem in SF because they are not being euthanized. Corrects
statement that avocados are poisonous. Not true. San Diego Zoo feeds them by
the boxes to their birds. Worked in pet shops in the Bay Area from age 12 to
22. Pet shops are needed because they work with people to give the help and
knowledge they need. Private bird breeders don’t have the time for that. Has
and breeds birds from every continent except Antarctica.
Birds are not easy to breed. Third thing birds most want to do besides survive
and eat is breed. Parrots are fairly intelligent but not as intelligent as the
Susan Tucker – Petco’s Service Manager in SF area – Joined
by Emmanuel Lara, General Services Manger at 16th and Bryant.
Banning the sale of pets in SF will not address the stated purpose of the
ordinance which is for small animals surrendered to ACC find homes rather than
be euthanized. Understands that ordinance is wanted to make a statement. Believes
working together is a better way to
go. Petco has a solution proposed last month rather than a ban which is to
provide designated habitat and floor space for ACC’s animals. Using number of
animals surrendered to ACC of about 900 in a year, believes Petco can place
most if not all. Unfortunately heard that ACC is not interested in Petco’s
offer. Many more animals will be euthanized as a result. Petco has never sold
dogs or cats. Petco works in collaboration with the non-profit Petco foundation
and 6500 animal rescue groups to offer animal adoption in our stores in the US. Through
these efforts finds new homes for over 200,000 animals a year. The Petco
foundation provides $10 million a year to animal welfare partners. In California works with
over 1000 rescue groups including dozens focused on small animal adoptions.
Petco encourages customers to “think adoption first”. This ordinance will not
solve the problem. The solution is to use one of our SF stores to relinquish
small animals. Petco’s view is it is better to partner with Petco, to reduce
the euthanasia rate, rather than make a symbolic ordinance that will do nothing
to change animals being killed.
Comr. Hemphill – If you did have ACC’s animals in your
store, would that cut down the number of animals you are selling?
Susan Tucker – That would certainly allow for that.
Comr. Stephens – Would the Commissioners like to make
comments on what has been discussed tonight?
Comr. Gerrie – Would like to consider the information
presented tonight, let it season for a month, then come back next month for a
Comr. Hemphill – Would also like to let is season.
Comr. Aldridge – Worried about legislation that would bump
into practicalities as regards to legality. Is not our job to consider the
legalities but would hope that a recommendation would have a chance with the
Comr. Page – There are precedents that bans have been
upheld. Can give details as to the individual cases.
Comr. Stephens – Heard interest of groups working together.
Would like to take those groups up on that and have a meeting with pet store
owners and rescue groups. If that then doesn’t work then we can come back and
revisit the issue.
Comr. Gerrie – That has been my preference as well. I have
favored dialogue over legislation. The view points are very different. Have
appreciated hearing the two sides here tonight talking in this public forum.
Comr. Hemphill – Put off by the criticism of the rescue
groups. If the intention is to work together criticizing is not helpful.
Comr. Stephens – Open dialogue is crucial and listening with
open ears. Went to a recent meeting of the coalition for the homeless animals.
Was impressed that people were actually listening. There were ground rules
about not talking over one another and no personal attacks. Don’t know if that
would work with this group. A non-profit had stepped up to head the coalition.
Don’t know what group might be willing to organize or maybe just do it
Comr. Gerrie – Had hoped for more dialogue. Wanted to hear
alternatives to legislation that would be workable. Haven’t heard much yet.
Would like more input to craft something.
Kat Brown – ACC has been seeing about 4000 animals per year,
not including dogs and cats, for the last few years. Half are ‘other’ animals
which could include wildlife. Number of domestic birds seen in the two years,
2008/ 2009, are 287. That’s budgies, canaries, cockatoos, cockatiels, conures,
finch, king pigeons, love birds, macaws, parakeets, and parrots. So far for 2009/
5 A) Public
Bonnie Tomek – Has always had pets. Appreciates what
Commission is doing. What about considering the sale of iguanas snakes and
reptiles? And what would happen to dog breeders in SF? Would a ban affect them?
Would the only animals left to buy at a pet store be reptiles and fish?
Lisa Dominguez – Hope Commission will pass a ban. Six years
ago bought a pet from Serramonte Pet Store. First time buying a pet from a pet
store versus a shelter. Fell in love with a little dog there. Inner voice said
not to but from a pet store however. But fell in love and returned the next day
to buy the Pomeranian. Was reassured by the pet store that he came from a good
breeder and was healthy. Soon became sick with condition that causes vomiting.
Has spent $30,000 in last six years on
his medical care. Also had degenerative disc disease. Ban will stop production
and trafficking of similar unhealthy animals.
Kelly Operman – Went to pet shops as a girl. Parents made
her research what animals would make good pets. Bought loving animal at Animal
Connection. Has had it for 12 years now. Doesn’t support ban. Instead should
regulate pet stores. Make sure pet stores sell pets responsibly, not a ban.
Serramonte Pet Store is notorious . not all pet stores are bad. Regulate and
investigate bad pet stores, not ban sales.
Donna Stravinsky – Lovebird owner. Heard solutions tonight.
Animal Connection told her what to expect, hooked her up with a bird group and
a bird vet. Was educated by them. Responsible pet stores are a resource. Just because a store sells birds doesn’t mean
the bird is a “product” to them.
Kim Flaherty – Vet technician – Has seen neglect and
disposal of animals by those who had no idea what to expect. Has seen huge vet
bills for people who did not know a pet could be so expensive. Birds should fly
Ann O’Brien – Animal Connection – Animals should not be an
impulse buy. Store should tell customers to call back and get a card of
information. Then provide support after purchase. Animal Connection is not out
for money but loving homes for animals.
Emmanuel Lara – General Manager Petco – Has been a learning
experience. Applauds both sides of the debate. Time to come up with solutions
to fix problems. Offers store as a place to meet and discuss issues.
Donald Berrie – When a ban is put on human behavior, it
doesn’t work, e.g., prohibition, drugs. Ban of sale of pets won’t work. City
will get a lawsuit to overturn any ban. Instead of ban on sales, legislate
regulations on puppy mills. Require pet stores to ask potential customers about
living condition needs of animal. About its life span. Regulate pet stores so
they tell people what they’re getting into with birds.
Kelly McDougal – Reptile Coordinator Animal Connection – Not
just a job but what has chosen to do. May not sell one animal all day but will
spend whole day talking to people about animals, moving heat lamps, etc.
Instills that animals deserve courtesy. Refuses sales. Not everyone should have
an animal. No one at store sees animals as products. Only reason to own a pet
store is for a love of the animals and to connect them with people.
Cory Evans - Attorney
Animal Law – Very familiar with Constitution and the Commerce Clause. It says
the federal government can enact regulations on matters that affect states.
Dormant Clause says that no state can enact legislation that discriminates
against out-of-state people. Cites an AKC case during which the court shot down
Commerce Clause argument against regulation.
Nadine May – Can’t sell firecrackers. There’s a reason for
that. Restrictions are done all the time. Most people with animals try to do
the best they can. Focus has been taken off of animals and on commerce and
money. Rescues don’t breed. They take animals because there are no
alternatives. They spend money on vet bills and spay/neuter. Pet stores don’t
spay/neuter. Rescues take any animals. They are under funded and understaffed.
They do it for the animals.
Brigitte Cowell – cat breeder and rescue – Encourages
everyone to work together. Prefers education to bans.
Mark Ennis – Welcomes new Commissioners. Is sad to see all
animals in cages. Animal’s lives are miserable. In SF, animal welfare may be OK
, other areas are not good. Says a lot that a bird breeder from LA came here to
oppose a ban. Commission has enough information to make a decision tonight. Let
the Board decide and hear more people. We used to sell people but now we don’t.
Take step to stop sale of animals.
Public comment closed
Comr. Gerrie – Need time to think about all this
Comr. Hemphill – Agrees. Need more time.
Comr. Gerrie – Will pursue offers to work together. Table
the motion until next month.
6) General Public Comment
Mark Ennis – Apologize for missing Bob Jenkins presentation
on the zoo last month. Hope he hasn’t swayed the Commission to think there are
no problems at the zoo. They continue to bring in new animals and don’t take
care of the ones they have. Hopes Commission will create subcommittee to deal
with zoo issues. Jenkin’s solutions are not solutions. Offer to take
Commissioners on a tour of zoo, himself, to show the problems. $50 million in
bond money spent inappropriately. Money did not do anything to better lives of
zoo animals. Zoo is all about visitors, not animals.
7& 8 Calendar items and task allotments
Comr. Stephens – Will continue discussion on the sale of
animals at pet stores at the next meeting.
No public comment
9) Adjournment 9:50 PM
Respectfully submitted by