San Francisco, Banning Capitol: Adds Pets To Forbidden List

The uber-enlightened which are the San Francisco city council and its hangers on have banned: McDonald’s Happy Meals (they objected to kids being happy), cigarette smoking nearly everywhere (they refuse to allow their citizens the risk of sickness), proposed a ban on circumcisions (cruel and unusual—this picture, I mean), Junior Reserve Officer Training (excessive patriotism in the young?).

Also styrofoam to-go containers (global warming, of course), plastic bags at grocery stores (plastic is evil), travel to or contracts by city officials to Arizona (immigration), phone books (you have to call to get one now), weight-based discrimination (from the city that gave us the slang word heavy), irradiated food in schools (boo! radioactivity!), trans fats (but only because they heard Mike Bloomberg did the same for New York), internet filters on computers (free the pr0n!).

Not to forget alcohol ads (kids might see them), sugary drinks in vending machines (beat Bloomberg to this one), tobacco sales at pharmacies (strange, Iceland will soon only sell tobacco with a prescription at pharmacies), Segways on sidewalks (the first sane one in the list), plastic water bottles on city property, a whole slew of chemicals that might be made known to kiddies.

Then there is images of guns on movie posters, cat declawing (rowr!), handguns, meat on Mondays (not Fridays, that would be religious), electronic cigarettes (because they have the word “cigarette” in them, I guess), the feeding of parakeets (those living on the streets), business with Burma .

My list, gathered by five minutes searching for the phrase “San Francisco Bans,” is, of course, woefully incomplete: no city has banned more things than SF. And now I can report to you that the City of Freedom is proposing a ban on selling goldfish and gerbils. Why? Well, it appears a softy city-council member, or a group of them, saw one of those late-night sad dog commercials. The ones where a lonesome pup with watery eyes looks up at the camera half sadly, half reproachfully, and implores, “Why doesn’t somebody adopt me?”

The city-council member agreed with the dog and said to herself, “No dogs should be sold because they can be adopted.” So she proposed banning all sales of pets (a.k.a. animal companions).

San Francisco never does anything half measure. So the ban will include not just dog and cat sales, but also goldfish, gerbils, fishes of the sea, lovebirds, mice, and all the other critters people take as pets, but which you will never find ready to be adopted at any shelter.

Since most proposed bans become actual bans in SF, this one, if enacted, probably will see a increase in the adoption rate at shelters. It will also see an increase in sales in pet shops in Oakland, Daly City, San Mateo and other surrounding cities. The ban will also force closure of many private stores, almost certainly driving the owner’s into bankruptcy—unless those owners can convert their stores quickly to sell one of the few remaining items that has not yet been banned or otherwise regulated.

If they cannot convert and they do go bankrupt, those poor owners, yet more victims of the Enlightenment, will have to take to the streets, which are very begger friendly in San Francisco. So they have at least that going for them.

Simple math says that the shelters will soon run out of adoptable cats and dogs, and that if people do not drive to Oakland to buy new ones, which can be abandoned in turn, the shelters will have to import new stock from outlying areas.

San Francisco still allows the sales of pet food, but if they could only find it into their hearts to ban that, then they could make sure nobody brings a pet into the city in the first place. No pets, no strays, and no need for adoptions! A perfect solution.

Perhaps we should have a contest where readers pick the next item that San Francisco bans. Perhaps all non-hybrid cars? Fourth-of-July celebrations (which run the risk of turning residents into Republicans)? What’s your guess?

Happy Fourth all!

Update Doug M writes to tell us, “The next thing to be banned appears to be the hookah bar. Technically illegal for a dozen years, but just now being enforced.” LINK


  1. DAV

    I would have guessed the next ban would be on critical thinking but I guess there isn’t really a need.

  2. View from the Solent

    C’mon, it’s obvious. Reporting on SF bans.

  3. Lionell Griffith

    I suggest we ban ALL economic activity in San Francisco and place a 110% tax on all retained wealth. Then, as the productive few flee the bounds of the city, the police are to confiscate all their personal belongings as the price of allowing them to escape the economic wasteland known as San Francisco.

    After all, we must have absolute equality in every way. No man may own anything more than any other man. If he does, his selfish excess will be taken from him and be redistributed to those who have less. Except, that is, for the political elite who are clearly more equal than mere shop keepers or service workers who keep things going.

    The political elite are to continue to have their high six and seven figure salaries, extravagant rent controlled apartments, limousines, and 200% of highest pay pensions for life when they retire from serving the public.

    Queue the Twilight Zone: “Its a cook book!”

  4. Ray

    Well, what do you expect? Isn’t San Francisco one of those asylum citys, as in lunatic asylum?

  5. I’m betting on SF running all the fast-food joints out of low-income neighborhoods. But, caprice being what it is, they could go after anything from hot dogs to cowboy hats to motorcycles to martinis.

    Queue the punch line: “Why, I’d wake up Mikey. He’s never seen a wreck that big before.”

  6. Weston

    I’m putting my money on disposable diapers. It hits all of the issues: human waste, disposable goods, and children being brought up the ‘correct way’!

  7. Matt

    I would include the phone book thing as a rational act. It’s not really a ban, but possibly the only fiscally responsible act the city has ever undertaken. I haven’t even brought my phone book into the house in years. It goes straight into the garbage.

    I suppose the reason most places would keep distributing the phone book is to inflate circulation in order to increase ad prices. So, maybe it’s not such a great thing for the city fiscally, but maybe the people who buy ads are getting a better deal.

    Unintended consequence #263 of banning disposable diapers: Convalescent and nursing homes, etc., also driven from San Francisco.

  8. Adam H

    I’m going with youth league football. Children! Think of them!

  9. Doug M

    Shark fin soup

  10. mbabbitt

    Exhaling. C02 increases.

  11. Doug M

    Microwave popcorn in the workplace.

  12. mccand

    Just curious, but isn’t the idea that the division of federal, state, and local governance that different areas can try different things? I thought the purpose of this was that we (as a country) could try out any particular set of rules that we wished to live by, so long as we remained within constitutional limits, and see what worked best.

  13. Nick F


    First, wonderful site. It’s nice to see detailed, well-written articles, even if I disagree with much of what you write. I’ll check back regularly to get a different viewpoint.

    Second, I don’t have as much time to replicate your literary efforts, but I did:

    1. Google search for the “most conservative city” and pick Provo, UT, since it was the first city to pop up (I know, real scientific).

    2. Google ‘Provo Utah bans’ and found various bans on mining on public lands, fake marijuana, driving and talking on a cell phone, longboarding in canyons, ball pythons, hookah bars, internet porn, bar nights on Mondays, YouTube access, and fireworks. Again, this took me only about a minute or so, and I didn’t read into the details of every article.

    With that in mind:

    1. Do you have a qualitative measure of the number of SF bans relative to other cities?

    2. Given that most/all cities in America have a long list of banned activities (either through local, state, or federal legislation) and that we can agree that many of these activities should be illegal (e.g., murder, rape, and extortion), what is it about SF’s banned activities that particularly bothers you? What do you think are ban-able actvities are what activities are off limits?

    On a side-note, you seem to imply that smoking bans are ludicrous. I, on the other hand, suffer from asthma. Asthma and other diseases have links to smoking, second-hand smoke, or other types of pollution. Isn’t this a question of whether people are free to engage in an activity regardless of the negative externalities or whether good health and clean air are fundamental rights?

  14. Briggs

    Nick F,

    Good God! Provo, too? Next thing you know, it’ll be Austin, in Texas itself! The one difference I can see is that you go to Provo expecting deprivation, and to San Francisco expecting to hear speeches about how wonderful, how enlightened, how free. Hypocrisy is ratcheted up in the city by the bay.

    Sorry about your asthma. I’d suggest not standing by me while I smoke my cigar. Nor should you enter places where people voluntarily want to smoke. I promise not to be near you when you snort on your inhaler, lest I accidentally inhale some dangerous and (to me) unnecessary corticosteroids.

    My education was insufficient to bring me to understand “negative externalities”, but if you mean second-hand smoke is dangerous as portrayed in the press, I’ll disagree. The statistical evidence nearly reaches the level of shoddy, so if I were you, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

  15. Nick F


    Excellent! Thanks for the response. Unfortunately, I think hypocrisy is a disease that everyone is born with and conversations like this are the only way to start thinking about your own preconceived notions.

    Yes, I agree about the smoking and the asthma, to the extent that our differences are minor points. I choose to not go places where I know I’m going to be subjected to smoke – certain bars, for instance. To stick with that example, I could see the logic in a city establishing a certain proportion of free-for-all to smoke-free bars, and I am less enthusiastic about completely banning smoking in bars.

    I meant negative externalities in the sense that there’s a negative byproduct of the activity and the cost of that byproduct is at least partially subsidized by parties outside the activity. There are certainly costs to society from smoking, whether they’re direct health costs or the aesthetic difficulties of having cigarette butts on the ground. Of course, I’m not saying anything about whether those are unacceptable costs, one would need to consider benefits as well, and there are most definitely responsible smokers and irresponsible smokers (in terms of littering).

    Either way, a belated Happy Fourth of July to you as well.

  16. read a book

    Nick F,

    It seems pretty obvious that the only thing about San Francisco’s bans that he doesn’t like are the fact that they take place in San Francisco, as you can surmise from the non-answer to your legitimate questions:

    “What is it about SF’s banned activities that particularly bothers you?”
    “What do you think are ban-able actvities [and] what activities are off limits?”

    If you have any doubts as to the accuracy of this post, which you should, you can start by checking the made up facts like:

    “no city has banned more things than SF”
    “Since most proposed bans become actual bans in SF”

    and see that they don’t have any supporting evidence.

    You can also look at the straight up falsehoods, like the “ban” on “images of guns on movie posters”, that in actuality was not enacted by the city supervisors, referred only to advertisements on bus stops, and is no longer an active policy. Or that the city has a “ban” on “meat on Mondays,” which is simply untrue.

    You could look at the false argument that things that haven’t actually been banned, like e-cigarettes, are currently banned.

    If you are looking for reason, wait until the increasingly rare statistical content is posted. Otherwise expect political and social conversation that’s about on par with the Drudge Report (see: content free responses from comedians DAV, Lionel, Ray, Westin, mbabitt, and Doug M, and non-response to real discussants such as Matt, mccand, and yourself).

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