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Thursday, July 8, 2010

San Francisco Proposes Ban on Pet Sales

Posted By on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge Soon to be off-limits in the city? The cat, that is.
  • Soon to be off-limits in the city? The cat, that is.
Mandatory composting. No sodas in soda machines. And now -- no pets?

The resolution banning the sale of all pets in the city save for fish that is coming up for a vote tonight with the city's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare -- we've got one of those -- seems to have all the necessary components of being The Next Thing Out-Of-Towners Use To Compare San Francisco To A Totalitarian State. Well-meaning, obscure commissions? Check. Dubious execution? Check. Extreme heavy handedness? Check. An apparent disregard for independent businesses? Double-check.

This law -- which, mind you, would still need to be voted into reality by the Board of Supervisors, which is not an imminent possibility -- would affect the sale of just about every pet under the sun except fish. Yet, according to the animal shelter professionals quoted in today's Chronicle article, the real problem animals aren't dogs or cats but critters such as hamsters, which are often inexpensive impulse buys that face euthanization in area shelters. 

click to enlarge Sorry for making so many problems, San Francisco...
  • Sorry for making so many problems, San Francisco...
Forgive us for armchair legislating, but wouldn't a more focused measure be called for? And, rather than, say, ban hamsters, how about imposing a "hamster fee" on the purchase of those rodents or other small critters? ("Fees" on alcohol, cigarettes, or other items are always reverse-engineered to neatly fit an existing city expenditure. Surely the city can find some way of recouping some of its Animal Control costs via calculating a percentage of funds spent on small animals.)

Or, if a fee isn't to your liking, how about a mandatory waiting period before buying a pet? You could call it the hamster Brady Bill.

We'll check in today with shelter and animal professionals to gauge what they think about the proposed pet ban. More when we know more.

Update: See "San Francisco Pet Ban Makes Sense to Animal Control Officials.

Photo   |   Bamboopidge

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more


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