NATIONAL CITY, Calif. -- The National City City Council voted Tuesday to draft up rules that would officially ban retail pet stores.
A new state law that went into effect January 1 mandates only cats and dogs from official rescues can be sold in stores, but critics said there were loopholes that National City stores were abusing.
"We don’t want National City to become the sanctuary city for puppy laundering," said Leslie Davies, a co-founder of Not One Animal Harmed.
The only two pet stores left in National City, Puppy Patch and National City Puppies, have both claimed they follow California state law by only selling puppies that came from rescues classified as 501(c)(3).
"We complied with the law and we’re doing that. We get the puppies from rescues and that’s the bottom line -- whether they like it or not, unfortunately," said David Salinas, manager of National City Puppy.
Animal rights activists have criticized the rescues the stores have chosen to work with: Bark Adoptions from Menifee, California and Pet Connect out of Joplin, Missouri.
"Both rescues are being sued by the State Attorney General of Iowa, so this is a very serious problem," said Andrea Cunningham, the other co-founder of Not One Animal Harmed.
The only council member to oppose the ordinance in a 4-1 vote was Vice Mayor Ron Morris.
National City joins a list of other cities in San Diego county that have already banned the retail sale of animals, including Solana Beach, Carlsbad, San Marcos, and Oceanside.