San Francisco's Hamster Crusade


by Chris Bodenner

The city could become the first to ban the sale of all pets (except fish):

The idea originated about two years ago, when the commission began looking into a ban on dog and cat sales as a way to discourage puppy and kitten mills. But the city's animal control staff said that excess puppies and kittens are not the problem at the city shelter, thanks to the plethora of rescue groups. In any case, only one or two pet stores in San Francisco sell dogs and cats. The rest stick to small animals.

The real problem, staff said, is hamsters. People buy the high-strung, nocturnal rodents because they're under the temporary impression that hamsters are cute and cuddly. But the new owners quickly learn that hamsters are, in fact, prone to biting, gnawing through expensive wiring and maniacally racing on their exercise wheels at 2 a.m.

Claire Berlinksi lays out the moral case against the pet trade. Brian Moylan finds the potential ban dumb and impractical:

It just means that if you want to get some sort of living play thing for your child, you'll just ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and stop by the nearest strip mall that has a pet store and buy one. A 30-minute drive isn't that much a deterrent. ... Maybe we should just treat pets like cigarettes and alcohol and put heavy taxes on them. That might stop people just going out there and picking up pets as often as a subject on an episode of Hoarders takes broken picture frames out of a dumpster.

Speaking of pets and hoarders, all dog lovers should check out this clip.

(Photo by Flickrite citron_smurf)