Pet store owner defies ban on puppy sales

SAN DIEGO – A pet store owner who refuses to follow a recently passed city law is in trouble with animal control officers.

San-Diego-PuppyDavid Salinas, CEO of San Diego Puppy in Grantville, shared video of a confrontation he had with San Diego County Animal Control officers at his store on Wednesday.

“We have to record this, because we know this is bogus,” said Salinas. “They’re strong-arming me, telling me I have to do business in a certain way. That is not our business model.”

Salinas’ store is allegedly in violation of a newly passed puppy ordinance, prohibiting any commercial sale of dogs, cats, or rabbits, unless the animal came from a local animal shelter.

The ordinance passed July 23 and was signed into law by then Mayor Bob Filner.  It became effective September 4.

Following a complaint lodged against San Diego Puppy, animal control officers visited the store Wednesday and tried to cite Salinas.

“To have to go on what they call the humane model is completely bogus for us,” said Salinas.  “We’re not prepared to sell larger dogs.  We’re not prepared to deal with the psychological issues that some shelter dogs have.”

On Thursday, Salinas personally delivered a letter to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith arguing against the ordinance. He cited it’s a violation of his rights including unreasonable search and seizure, due process and even the first amendment.

“We’re being persecuted falsely.  We basically are making it very clear this ordinance is illegal,” said Salinas. “We have the right to display puppies, that’s something about the freedom of speech.”

Salinas told Fox5, he was never warned the law was in effect.Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 5.36.48 PM

“Not a single letter or a single phone call. Nothing,” said Salinas.

Animal control officials said no warning was sent, but it’s clear the law is in effect.

“The ordinance was passed in a public session of the city council,” said Harold Holmes, Deputy Director of Animal Control Services.

The agency said the matter is under investigation and for now San Diego Puppy will not be cited.

“In this case, we did not see any sales taking place,” said Holmes.

San Diego Puppy now also has a store in Oceanside.