Council committee investigates puppy mill trafficking

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SAN  – Some local lawmakers are saying that doggie in the window is too much – if it’s a puppy mill dog.

They want to take the bite out of consumers getting ripped off and animals being abused.

Pet store puppyThey say they want to put an end to puppy mill dogs ending up in San Diego.

Maria Brunetto runs Cute Odyssey, a dog rescue in La Mesa.

Just last week she rescued three Shih Tzu’s that came from a puppy mill.

“You can see from how big their nipples are that they were just used for breeding,” said Brunetto.  “They have never been near a human being, they have never been held or loved.”

Brunetto says the dogs she rescued were abused and neglected.  They are missing teeth and all of them have been debarked.

“I think it’s necessary to have some kind of law to protect those dogs from being used to make money,” said Brunetto.

City Councilwoman, Marti Emerald, says unsuspecting consumers here in San Diego and in other places also pay the price.  She says it’s not uncommon for consumers to purchase the offspring of these unhealthy, inbred dogs, often from pet stores.

“Consumers 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.”

California was one of the first states to implement a lemon dog law.

The law says if you sell a puppy you must provide a health certificate for its lineage, and if it’s sick when it was sold, the consumer has to be reimbursed one and a half times those vets bills.

Wednesday, the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services City Council Committee discussed ways San Diego could go even further.

Emerald asked, “Is there more we can do locally to protect consumers and to protect animals?  Is there more we can do to make sure we put the lid on a business that is exploiting innocent animals?”

The committee voted to work with the San Diego Humane Society and the Animal Welfare Coalition to draft an ordinance regulating the sale of puppies in pet stores.

Brunetto said that in the end, consumers have the power to put an end to puppy mills.  She said consumers need to stop buying puppies from pet stores and adopt them from animal rescue groups and shelters.


  • Maurizia

    I am super happy that finally we are doing something to stop brutal puppy mills. I know Mrs. Brunetto and she is doing an incredible job with the dogs. I hope many more people will make their voices heard to fight against this business.

  • mike

    what a great story, and thank you to Maria at for saving those wonderful dogs, people should adopt from her and other rescues and not from stores and puppy mills

  • writenowbiz

    How about stopping the hundreds of thousands of dogs and puppies coming across the border? How about holding rescues and others to the same standard for healthy dogs? They can traffic dogs on an increasing basis and it's ok. Crack down on cruelty – all of it no matter the source.

  • RMPendleton

    How about we get a law passed against selling animals in stores? There is a pet store in Carlsbad at the Plaza Camino Real mall that keeps those poor babies in horrible cubes stacked 3 high with people constantly tapping on the plexiglass trying to get their attention. I saw a pug there several times that was over 8 months old before it finally disappeared. It's a disgrace.

    • Jan

      Contact the group above. They will help you to put together educational outreach. My group has been holding rallies outside malls that have puppy mill stores for the past 4 years. We have seen several of them either close altogether or be replaced by adoption centers. The public is very receptive to our presence. You can do it, too.

    • Kim

      I know of one pet store in particular that no longer has puppies or kittens for sale. Instead they are going to the shelter and bringing those pets in and are adopting them out. That is a step in the right direction. It's Rumford Pets in R.I.
      Don't shop! Adopt!

  • Louise O'Rourke

    Im in Australia, and we have the same problem here.
    It's all about educating people with peaceful protests outside these pet stores, and via social media.
    the average person doesn't know about puppy mills, and are horrified when they become informed. My local pet shop hates me as I regularly walk past and glue cards on their window urging people to Google Puppy Mills.
    We have to keep letting people know about the cruelty behind this puppy trade.

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