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The Paper - Escondido San Marcos North County
  Cover Story - Political Enquiry October 14th, 2010     

Puppy Mills and Our Local Legislators:

In connection with this week’s cover story, The Paper sent the following message to all candidates for public office in North County.

We would like to learn your position on Puppy Mills and legislation designed to decrease their market share and deter them from shipping pups from their home state(s) to Southern California and its various cities.
While we feel this is a national problem, the solution to the problem, we believe, begins at the grass roots level, with legislation crafted to provide a solution.

a. If elected, would you agree to carry and/or support legislation for your city to pass an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of live pets in retail establishments within your city limits?
b. If so, how would you implement and enforce the ordinance?
c. If you would not introduce or support such an ordinance, your reason(s) for not supporting such legislation. We are submitting this survey to all candidates up for election this year in Escondido, San Marcos, Vista, Carlsbad and Oceanside.
We will publish the responses of each candidate that returns the survey (by email, preferably) by Friday, October 8th.


The results?
(M) = Mayor candidate

Escondido Candidates:
Dick Daniels (M)Responded
Ed Gallo Responded
Richard Barron Responded

Sam Abed No response
Tom D’Agosta No response
Marie Waldron No response
Jim Crone No response
Lori Holt Pfeiller No response
Jason Everitt No response
Joe Bologna No response

San Marcos Candidates

Mike Preston Responded
Jim Desmond (M) No response
Chris Orlando No response
Mike Hansen No response
Mike Hunsaker No response
Krystal Jabara Responded

Vista Candidates

None of the Vista Candidates Responded

Chuck Rabel (M)
Judy Ritter (M)
Patrick Uhri (M)
John Aguilera
Michael Booth
Mario Carillo
Carl Miles
Tom Fleming
Michael Dinnel
Dave Cowles
Sam Feliccia

Oceanside Candidates
No candidate responded

Gary Felien
Jerry Kern
Chuck Lowery
Rex Martin
Ken Crossman

Carlsbad Candidates

Glenn Bernard - (M) Responded
No Responses:

Keith Blackburn (M)
Matt Hall (M)
Walt Meier (M)
Mark Packard
Jon Wantz
Farah Douglas
Bill Jubb

•••••

Editor’s Note: We were disappointed with the lack of response from a number of candidates for a number of offices. Some of those that did respond have an excellent grasp of the problem, some do not. Still, we thank them for taking the time to express their views so you may judge their answers on this issue when you step into the voting booth.

Here are the written responses from those candidates who did answer the query:

From Ed Gallo, Escondido:

This is an issue that affects all taxpayers in every community. When I was a kid growing up in New Jersey the 'Dog Catcher' was responsible for removing roaming and sometimes rabid dogs off the streets to keep the citizens safe. Who pays for the service should be a concern of every taxpayer as we are the ones, whether you own a cat or dog or not, who support what we now refer to as the Humane Society through our tax dollars which in the case of Escondido are funds from the General Fund to pay for animal control services. As the cost of animal control increases our general fund decreases accordingly. I believe our current cost for animal control is well over $500,000 however I am not sure of the actual amount.

What puppy mills do is exacerbate a growing pet problem. This business mass produces animals and ships them to legitimate pet stores who must sell them. In all the years raising three children we never purchased a pet other than a hamster from a pet store. Our first dog was purchased from the Humane Society in Escondido. Others, and there were a few, were from neighbors or some who adopted us. You don't think an animal can adopt a human? Try turning back those sad eyes at your door looking for a home.

I would certainly propose such an ordinance after reviewing the West Hollywood ordinance and reviewing other cities who have enacted similar legislation as to what works and what may not. I tell you this after consulting with dog owners who either have a huge concern for the protection of animals or who own and show dogs professionally. These folks tell me about the conditions of the pets being sold at pet stores and the risks that a new owner encounters. Legitimate breeders are very concerned about their animals. Anyone I come in contact with who is seeking a pet I always recommend the Humane Society as the place to look.

Ed Gallo, Escondido

From Mike Preston, San Marcos:

As a pet lover and owner, I was surprised and disgusted with the scope and magnitude of this problem. I appreciate you shining a light on the issue. I personally adopt my pets from local rescue shelters and would recommend that process to all potential pet owners.

I am reluctant to support a local ordinance that would universally prohibit all pet sales in retail stores because it would penalize the honest and ethical businesses along with the bad. It is akin to prohibiting all newspapers because a few may be unethical or poorly operated.

I would support legislation on the state and national level to better regulate the industry. For instance, charging a fee on every retail pet purchase to support expansion of investigation of puppy mill complaints. I would also support local legislation to better monitor retail pet establishments to prevent the sales of pets raised in poor conditions as described in your story.

Thank you;
Mike Preston

From Richard Barron, Escondido:

Hello Lyle:

Regarding your position on Puppy Mills, here are my views and position.

I am ABSOLUTELY against puppy mills and would support legislation to close down the sale of animals from such establishments. I have several dogs and they have all come to us for various reasons. We have a Ridgeback that we adopted from a client that was going to sail around the World, we have a Schnauzer that came with Mother in Law when she came to live with us, we share ownership of a Chocolate lab that was abandoned in our old neighborhood, we have a Black lab that was up for auction at a Rotary event, and then we have a Weimeriner from the pet store in North County Fair.

In that case we had watched her grow up in the glass display case for six months, until she could barely stand up. They were asking $2300 for her and eventually we became so annoyed that we went to the owners of the store and said we would pay $500 and if they did not accept that offer we would sue them for cruelty to animals. We took her home and she could barely control herself, her pads were so soft that they would bleed from walking on the carpet. She did not know what stairs were and could not climb them or get into the truck. She did not know what grass was as she had only been exercised for half an hour a day for the last six months. She still craves attention but has grown up with all the other dogs and is strong and very active. I cannot imagine what the first few months of her life were like, but I do know that she is making up for it now.

So when I am elected, one action I would take is to introduce legislation to ban the sale of animals from puppy mills. I agree with all the information in your articles and strongly support the cause.

Regards
Richard Barron
Escondido, CA.

From Dick Daniels, Escondido:

Lyle:

Anyone with any compassion for living beings, including dogs and cats, would deplore the conditions of these facilities where animals are so badly mistreated. But my conservative leanings caution me not to rush to support more levels of controls on legitimate business establishments; in this case, pet stores, that provide pets with clean, comfortable and safe living conditions.

It seems to me there are at least two reasons why a local ordinance trying to ban the sale of pets from such of these facilities would be misdirected:

1. The inhumane treatment of these animals is not committed in Escondido, rather where these breeding facilities are located. Our purview is to be sure the retail pet facilities in Escondido provide clean, comfortable and safe living conditions for the animals being offered for sale. If we were to ban the sale of goods that are produced under subhuman conditions, using the same rationale that the solution is at the point of sale, not point of origin, we’d be prohibiting the sale of goods from China, other parts of Asia and Africa where sweat shops abound. That would clear off the shelves of most retail outlets, large and small.

2. Even if we were so inclined, we don’t have the manpower and other enforcement resources necessary to check retail outlets to be sure animals are not coming from puppy mills and other such facilities. Our core competencies and priorities are public safety and public works and we have enough of a challenge providing those services without trying to check up to be sure little Fido is not from a puppy mill in Missouri or some other distant locale.

The most effective way to shut down these facilities is via the free enterprise system; in this case, consumer behavior. There needs to be a public education program that leads to a widespread consumer boycott in which prospective pet buyers refuse to buy animals that come from these facilities. Let market demand – or the lack thereof – solve the problem.

At the same time, there needs to be disclosure requirements that give consumers information where the pet for sale comes from.

Dick Daniels
Escondido, CA.

From Glenn Bernard, Carlsbad:

my website is
www.MostIndependentCandidateInAmerica.com

Within this website, I proclaim that I am a "capitalist with environmental concerns." I am an animal lover, and once carried a sign at the Sea World entrance that was a protest (led by the Sea Shepherd Society) of the dolphin petting pool. Accordingly, I would gladly support an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of live pets in retail establishments in Carlsbad. Keep up the good work.

Glenn Bernard
Carlsbad, CA.

Kristal Jabara, SanMarcos, CA.

Lyle,

Thank you for sending the survey. I answered both a and b, c was not necessary for me. I hope I was able to give you clear answers for the questions, because the question posed were theoretical and not an actual ordinance. To give you a little background on my feelings might help clarify where I stand when it comes to animals.

I got my first dog, Marley, in 1998. I had Marley before my daughter, she is now 10. Marley passed away this year and it was an extremely painful experience, as I write this I have tears in my eyes. He was an amazing dog that we got from a former co-worker who's pure bred golden retriever mated unintentionally with a black lab down the street (a very long and also sad story for another time). We made several trips to see the puppies in Ramona and after several visits with Mom and pups we chose Marley. Like I said before he was an amazing dog!

We also now have Dublin who will turn 3 this week, he is a yellow lab we got from a pastor and his family who got the dog for their young son who was ill and they weren't able to handle the puppy. He was adopted from a litter of dogs. Dublin is like the dog from Marley and Me, he ate the drywall in the garage. Without daily walks, and the Dog Whisper approach to exercise, discipline, and love he would be the most out-of-control animal that has ever existed. but, he is our Dublin and we love him.

When Dublin was just a puppy, and completely driving me crazy, my husband spotted Daisy at an adoption event put on by The German Sheppard Rescue group based here in San Marcos. Well, after several "come on honey isn't she sweet" (my husband) and "can you just take her for the weekend and foster her" (the director) I was gone hook, line, and sinker. Daisy was put in the back of the car with my husband and we drove home with our new dog.

Daisy has so many issues I can't even begin to list them ... fear based aggression, aggression towards men, other dogs, and maybe anything that breathes. We have done the Dog Whisper methods with her, hired private dog training, and tried to overcome many of her bad behaviors. Daisy has been great at training the out-of-control Dublin and is an irreplaceable part of our family.

My daughter at the age of 8, she is now 10, finally started to understand why Mommy would never let her go into the pet stores and why we never would buy a dog from a store, when there are so many dogs that need good homes in rescues and shelters. She has also never been to the circus, an entirely different long story.

I would do everything in my power to stop puppy milling, animal abuse, and neglect from lack of education. My strongest tool has been education and example, but if I was able to do more from any public position I held I would.

Sorry, this is probably more than you wanted but, I felt it was important for you to understand how I feel about the subject. I have attached a picture of Hannah with Dublin and Daisy, yes Dublin's tongue is sticking out...it's so Dublin. We even have some phrases in our home "Dublin moment" and "that's so a Dublin".

Thank you for taking the time to read this and send the survey.

Sincerely,

Kristal Jabara, San Marcos

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