San Francisco, named for the patron saint of animals, is considering a ban to stop impulse buying of pets — including cats, dogs, snakes, hamsters and even goldfish — in a bid to end animal cruelty.
The Humane Pet Acquisition Proposal has been drawn up by the Commission of Animal Control and Welfare, and sent to its board for consideration, according to a report in the SMH.
Proposal advocates say pet sales can lead to the treatment of animals as ''commodities.'' The proposal originally only covered dogs and cats but was expanded to include all mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish, as they were bred ''under inhuman conditions'' or taken from the wild, The Telegraph reports.
Live snake food was included after it was deemed cruel to small rodents. If passed, it would still be legal to sell live animals for human consumption.
Representatives of the pet industry, worth up to $50 billion a year, reportedly said the proposal was ''the most radical ban we've seen'' and would force small operators to close.
Animal activists said it will save small but important lives, along with taxpayer money, and end needless suffering.
San Francisco Animal Care and Control agency supported as ban that included smaller pets such as hamsters, which are euthanised at city shelters at a higher rate than other domesticated animal.
A spokeswoman, Rebecca Katz, did not advocate for the inclusion of fish, but said she was not against it:
''We're the agency that receives the filthy bowl with the goldfish at risk and have to determine whether we can make them healthy … or flush them down the toilet. These are the lucky ones. Most people just flush them themselves.''
The Humane Society of the United States named San Francisco as the most humane city for animals for its many dog parks that allow dogs to roam off-leash, vegetarian restaurants and pet-friendly hotels.