Irvine Bans Retail Dog and Cat Sales, Rodeos and Circuses with Exotic Animals

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To the delight of animal rights activists and chagrin of the town's lone pet store owner and the lobby that represents such businesses, the Irvine City Council Tuesday night banned the retail sale of cats and dogs. The council further earned gold stars from the likes of Orange County People for Animals and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by outlawing rodeos and circuses with exotic animals.

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The ban bandwagon got rolling in August when the Irvine Co., which owns most of the retail space in the city named after its founding ranch family, revealed it would no longer lease or renew leases to pet stores.

That will drive Russo's Pet Experience out of the Irvine Co.-owned Irvine Spectrum when the store's lease expires in October 2012.

More than 50 people addressing the council supported the ban on the retail sale of dogs and cats, with most citing inhumane conditions at puppy mills. Pet stores have been criticized for years for acquiring dogs and cats from such breeders.

If people should be buying pets anywhere, dog and cat lovers say, it should be from reputable animal shelters. The ordinance allows pet stores to acquire animals from shelters and rescue organizations.

Dan DiGiacomo, whose first Russo's store opened at Fashion Island in Newport Beach in 1968, maintained he only gets pets from licensed breeders and kennels that he has personally visited. Veterinarians examine his pets weekly, DiGiacomo added, and he would not still be in business with a clientele that has included John Wayne's family all these years if he was selling damaged goods.

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Motto on the Russopets.com website
He had the support of the Washington, D.C.-based Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, which organized opposition to Irvine's ban from all over the country. The lobby points to research that apparently shows pet store puppies are as healthy or healthier than puppies from other sources, and that most pet stores obtain puppies from responsible breeders.

The lone council member opposing the ban was Jeff Lalloway, who argued the city was creating a problem that did not exist, as there is only one pet store in the city, and it will be out of business next year. Lalloway also noted there are no mass-breeding facilities, no rodeos and no circuses with exotic animals operating in Irvine.

What's interesting about Lalloway's argument is it's the same one he received earlier this year when he came out on the dissenting end of a move to ban all registered sex offenders from city parks. Members of the council majority noted that was creating a problem that did not exist as few sex offenders live in Irvine and none have been arrested in local parks. A ban that only extends to those pervs convicted of preying on children was ultimately approved.

Whipping up support for the pet store ban was Orange County People for Animals and the Desperate Paws of Orange County Dog Club. The OCPA had argued the ban "will save lives," and once it was passed Desperate Paws' founders called it "a small victory" in an ongoing war against inhumane breeders and the pet stores that keep them in business.

Among those who cheered the council Tuesday night was a man dressed as a dog.

At least, I think it was a man.

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Golden Retriever Pictures
Golden Retriever Pictures

The first thing that should be on your program when planning your trip with a pet is a visit to the vet. The veterinarian may prescribe medications that can help keep your pet calm during the trip, as well as check for any problems that may need to be addressed first.

kate
kate

The article says this ban will drive Russo's out of town?  Why can't Russo's step up, finally, and run a HUMANE pet store in Irvine?   The store sells much more than cats and dogs, I do not understand why they cannot give up that cruel industry and focus on pet products/supplies and the smaller animals featured in the store?  I DONT want Russo's to open up shop in another town and continue to sell dogs and cats there!!   Russo's - if you are reading this - do the right thing - stay in Irvine and make your store HUMANE....you can do it NOW....no need to wait until your lease is up!!!

Winston's Mom
Winston's Mom

read the article - he can't stay in irvine as the irvine company is not renewing his lease. 

blueline99
blueline99

The ban isn't driving Russo out of town.. the Irvine Co. already decided to not lease any of their retail properties to pet stores.  This ban really doesn't have any effect... if it wasn't passed there would still be no pet stores.  (or circuses or rodeos)

René Bruce
René Bruce

EGO ! That's why.. if he was smart he would have offered pets from the OC Animal Care.I also want to note that Ethan Wayne's two dogs are rescues, NOT bought from Russos !!!

Claire Vinet
Claire Vinet

I'm so proud of Irvine for doing what is right instead of caving to commercial interests that exploit animals.  

Eric Mills
Eric Mills

A major victory for animals.  Kudos to the Irvine City Council and the good citizens there.

I would encourage activists from throughout California (and elsewhere) to get a copy of the new Irvine ordinance and present it to their own city councils.

Puppy mills, rodeos, and circuses with wild animal acts should be banned nationwide.

Sincerely,Eric Mills, coordinatorACTION FOR ANIMALSOakland

fearnot
fearnot

you cannot "adopt" a dog.. dogs are property  bought and sold or given away. Thank goodness for that..This is "feel good " legislation directed to divert people from the REAL problems in this state. JOBS. when Russos goes under.. will the Desperate Paws people be lining up to give their employees a PAYING job? Will Orange County "People for Animals" make a donation to the city to make up for revenue lost by banning circuses and rodeos.. don't hold your breath.This man has been in business since 1968.. that is a lot of years to be selling "defective goods' without complaints.. 1968.. probably most of the complainers were not even born yet..I hope he sues..

fearnot
fearnot

Wendyfrear makes assertions that are jsut not true.. we care for large numbers of animals all of the time.. SHELTERS keep HUNDREDS of animals from unknown situations all of the time.. some are very ill, some carry disease , some are "imported" from Mexico because the shelters don;t have enough business. What is so strange is that less than 2 percent of animals in shelters are from pet stores.. less than TWO PERCENT.. many are "shelter returns" after the "adopters" (read buyer) finds out why the dog was given up in the first place being recycled through the system.. Irvine.. really stupid move..

mitch young
mitch young

"Among those who cheered the council Tuesday night was a man dressed as a dog."

Zetas -- not the Mexican kind. 

Jane
Jane

If you don't like Irvine, don't live in Irvine. Now isn't that simple!  I am so proud of the city!

Gail
Gail

Yeah Irvine!!!  Hope other cities follow Irvine's lead.

Orange Curtain
Orange Curtain

Regardless of the validity about puppy mills and their practices... this article is further proof of the extent of social engineering in Irvine. This town has strived to become the Stepford Wives incarnate since its founding. Firework shows were banned in the mid 1980's. Children including myself were ticketed for bicycle and pedestrian violations at ages as young as 8. Don't live in Irvine. God forbid if you try to make any money at a business in Irvine. Ask the former propietors of the Tustin Marketplace for proof.

Patrick
Patrick

Coker, who is right then?  We can't ban sex offenders from parks where children are because there arent that many of them (as though the statistical likelihood of child abduction or assault is something to roll the dice on) but we must ban pet stores because there might be puppy mill dogs there.

I just read the below post and watched the city council meeting online and from what I could tell veterinarians with facts and statistics about REALITY, showed up to oppose the legislation, and lobbyist with several dog owners (incapable of training their own dog) showed up with anecdotal evidence to achieve a political end.  Which I am sure the democratic council majority will one day benefit financially from.  They're pretty short of cash recently...

Wendyfears
Wendyfears

russo's gets their puppies from trailane, who according to the usda reports have 515  dogs, maassen who has 569 dogs, brule creek has 141, barks n woof 268, jouwstra 158.these are mass breeding facilities aka commercial breeding facilities aka puppy mills.  it is impossible to humanely care for 569 dogs and make a profit. the statistics speak for themselves.  adopt, rescue or find a responsible breeder.  do no buy from a pet store as you are buying into cruelty

Al Jackson
Al Jackson

Wendy, I love your post. Why are places like Trailane legal while certain "puppy mills" illegal? How does Trailane maintain legal status when it seems their conditions are just as hellish as an illegal "puppy mill."

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