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Ban on Animal Purchases Headed to Council

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2011, at 07:16AM
Rabbits_A Ed Fuentes

Cages containing rabbits and turtles sit in the sun near 11th and Maple in August of 2009.

An ordinance making it illegal to purchase animals on the streets of the Fashion District is headed to Council, more than sixteen months after the law enforcement tool was originally proposed.

It is already illegal to sell live animals on the streets and sidewalks, but those arrested for the crime are often able to escape jail time and fines because of the county's overcrowded prisons.

Animals such as ducks, turtles and rabbits offered on the streets are often malnourished and sold off too young to have any chance at survival. Additionally, some animals can carry diseases that are dangerous to humans.

Board of Animal Services Commissioner Kathleen Riordan suggested the penalties for purchasers back in February of 2010. The item made its first stop at a Council committee in November and was passed by City Council in March.

The ordinance prepared by the City Attorney's office (PDF) would make it "purchase, offer to purchase, barter or receive without cost ... any baby chicks, ducklings, birds or other fowl; any fish, turtle, snake, lizard, chameleon or other reptile; or any rabbit, cat, dog, guinea pig, rodent or other animal."

Buyers can be slapped with a $250 citation for their first offense, rising to $500 for the second and $1000 for the third offense.

The draft ordinance now heads back to the Public Safety committee and Transportation committee before returning to City Council for final passage.

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