Pet Cemetery: San Francisco Readies Pet Shop Ban

If I told you that San Francisco was planning to regulate the City's pet shops out of existence, you would probably say I got taken in by The Onion. Sadly, this is not satire. SF has a "Commission of Animal Control and Welfare" and they are voting on just such a proposal tonight. But don't call them anti-business! SF Considers Banning Sales of Pets, Except Fish

Sell a guinea pig, go to jail.

That's the law under consideration by San Francisco's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare. If the commission approves the ordinance at its meeting tonight, San Francisco could soon have what is believed to be the country's first ban on the sale of all pets except fish.

That includes dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats, chinchillas, guinea pigs, birds, snakes, lizards and nearly every other critter, or, as the commission calls them, companion animals.

"People buy small animals all the time as an impulse buy, don't know what they're getting into, and the animals end up at the shelter and often are euthanized," said commission Chairwoman Sally Stephens. "That's what we'd like to stop."

San Francisco residents who want a pet would have to go to another city, adopt one from a shelter or rescue group, or find one through the classifieds.

According to the linked article, the pet sale ban is intended to combat a problem I was not previously aware of: people are buying (horrors!) hamsters, and are becoming overwhelmed with the responsibilities associated with caring for the little monsters. How these losers can care for themselves, let alone a hamster, is beyond me. Anyway, this leads to such cruel scenes as hamsters being turned over to animal shelters where they are the No. 1 animal euthanized by the City. Seems like you could try to do something less draconian like ban the sale of hamsters, or make people read a pamphlet, or some such (although those are just as intrusive and annoying). But, no, the Pet Commission would rather chase the simple thrill of "banning" all pet sales. No I am not kidding.

The City's pet store owners are, of course, up in arms over this threat to their livelihoods at the hands of the quintessential faceless bureaucrats. I mean, who would guess that your business could be shut down after a midnight vote by a city commission dedicated to pets? And, it could easily happen. There are very few pet shop owners - and the fish store owners will apparently be exempt* - but there are plenty of people in SF who think animals have souls and would rather see a business close and jobs destroyed if that would mean a single mangy little hamster won't have to go to the Big Wheel in The Sky.

Mostly, though, this is yet another example of the progressive's punitive impulse to stamp out fun in our lifetimes. How any adult can begrudge a kid's being able to buy a pet rather than drive out of town or find some questionable stray at the pound is beyond me. But, those are the sort of nags we have around here.

*a politic move on the part of the Commission. Fish stores are fairly common in SF, while traditional pet stores are not. Try to ban the sale of pet fish and you might start a fight, especially in the Chinese community, which seems to operate many of these shops. But, rest assured, they will come for the fish shops next.

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