In a federal complaint, the owner of San Diego Puppy has attacked a citywide ban on the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits at pet stores.
David and Veronica Salinas, the owners of the pet store located in Grantville, filed a lawsuit against the city, the local Humane Society, the San Diego Animal Defense Team, the Animal Protection and Rescue League, and the league's lawyer, Bryan Pease, for their part in passing the Companion Animal Protection Ordinance on July 10, 2013.
The ordinance is aimed at closing so-called puppy mills — commercial breeders often located in the Midwest who have been found to ignore health requirements.
But according to the Salinases' complaint, there are already laws in place to protect against neglect and mistreatment by breeders. Adding to that, all dogs sold at San Diego Puppy come with a certificate of health.
According to the complaint, San Diego Puppy, the only retail "pet store in the city that is/was selling purebred and other high-quality puppies that are not purported to be from a rescue or shelter retail facility," was irreparably harmed by the ordinance. It rejects the claim that San Diego Puppy buys, and later sells, dogs from auctions or imports them from other countries. On the contrary, they claim to deal directly with licensed breeders who are subject to governmental regulations.
Attorneys for the Salinases say the ordinance was the result of a unified assault by "activist organizations, coupled with the pre-existing antipathy on the party of certain City councilmembers."
Among those activist organizations listed is the Humane Society, which, according to the complaint, raises more than one hundred million dollars under the "guise of helping homeless pets," then uses that money to push for legislation such as the Companion Animal Protection Ordinance.
In regard to San Diego's ordinance, the complaint says that the local Companion Animal Protection Society targeted councilmembers Lorie Zapf and Marti Emerald upon learning the councilmembers had "anitpathy" toward animals.
Their antipathy caused them to pursue adopting an ordinance.
Councilwoman Emerald is quoted in the news as stating erroneously and inappropriately that “unsuspecting consumers here in San Diego and in other places also pay the price” of purchasing offspring of unhealthy, inbred dogs from substandard breeding facilities, dubbed “puppy mills” by activists. She also stated without any basis in fact as applied to San Diego Puppy that “[c]onsumers are coming in, they’re paying top dollar for these animals,” said Emerald. “Then they get the dogs home and they get sick, and the vet bills start rolling in.” She cited no authority, facts or statistics for her incorrect assertions.
By filing the lawsuit, the Salinases hope to rescind the ordinance while at the same time keep longtime animal rights activists such as Bryan Pease from "annoying, harassing, trespassing, threatening or otherwise violating the peaceful operation of the business owned by Plaintiff David Salinas, and from threatening, harassing or annoying any employee or officer of such businesses."