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Laws and Legislation

Throw humane pet stores a bone

Throw humane pet stores a bone

When the city of Los Angeles barred pet stores from selling commercially bred cats, dogs, and rabbits, it required instead that animals sold in stores come from shelters, humane societies and rescue groups. The purpose was to end Angelenos' complicity with cruel breeders and puppy mills, and to encourage the adoption of animals in need of rescue. A fine idea, but the ordinance, which passed in late 2012, prompted an unforeseen zoning problem.

Many animals sold in “humane” stores are older, no longer puppies or kittens. Under the city's municipal zoning code, any pet store selling four or more dogs that are four months of age or older is deemed to be a kennel. While pet...