A San Francisco city commission was getting ready to vote to prohibit the sale of dogs, cats and smaller animals like guinea pigs, hamsters and rats, when at the eleventh hour a bird rescue volunteer asked to include feathered companions.
"These birds end up in shelters, on Craigslist, surrendered to rescues, set free, threatened to be set free, abandoned at vets," said Elizabeth Young from the Mickaboo Bird Rescue organization.
Many have been abandoned by their owners and many of them were purchased at pet sores. Animal Care and Control acknowledged it is a problem and people don't know they are available for adoption.
"We get a lot of birds, a lot of really nice ones, all kinds like parrots, macaws, parakeets, love birds, all of those things and we don't have a lot of people looking for birds at Animal Care and Control," said Rebecca Katz from San Francisco Animal Care and Control.
Many birds end up being euthanized, just like other smaller animals.
Some owners say the city's proposal would hurt business. There are only three major shops in San Francisco that sell animals. One of them is Petco, a chain store.
"Passing laws to limit the availability of animals won't work. People love their animals and they'll find a way to get them whether it's legal means, going outside the city, or underground if necessary," says Kevin Whalen from Petco.
Other cities ban the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores. San Francisco could become the first in the nation to also include small mammals and perhaps now birds.