National City pet store owner attempts referendum on controversial ordinance

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NATIONAL CITY, Calif. -- Just about a week after the National City City Council voted 4 to 1 to pass an ordinance banning the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits, a pet store owner is trying to gather enough signatures to overturn that decision.

Local pet activists were shocked to find people petitioning outside of a local Walmart Friday with a sign that read. "Sign here. Stop sale of dogs, cats and rabbits."

"They said they were hired by a company to gather signatures," Karen Clayton said.

Clayton said she found the sign's message confusing for the public.

"It sounds like they were actually reinforcing the ordinance that was already passed," said Clayton.

In reality, National City puppy store owner David Salinas confirmed to FOX 5 Friday his plans to collect more than 3,000 signatures to overturn the city council’s vote on the ordinance.

If successful, National City residents would get to vote on the issue.

“We have decided to fight this unfair government overreach by putting the decision in the hands of National City residents by placing a referendum on the March 2020 ballot," said Salinas in a written statement.

Clayton says after speaking with the people gathering signatures, she wasn’t confident they knew what they were asking people to sign.

"They have no vested interest in what the real issue is at all, they don’t understand the issue, and if someone is to question them they can’t give you a reasonable explanation," Clayton said.

The ordinance as written would close any loopholes in California state law requiring pet stores to work exclusively with rescues or shelters when selling dogs, cats, or rabbits.

The Salinas has until October 3 to gather the required amount of signatures or the ordinance will go into effect.

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