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Jax Beach tries to cut down on puppy mills

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – People looking to get a puppy or kitten in Jacksonville Beach are now facing more limited options when it comes to their furry friends.

A new ordinance went into effect limiting animal stores that want to sell puppies or kittens to animals that were picked up from an animal rescue organization or a public animal shelter.

The city of Jacksonville Beach said it is an effort to crack down on puppy and kitten mills and the bad conditions often associated with them. It said the new rules will help decrease shelter populations.

Read: Jacksonville's animal ordinance and enforcement

Neptune Beach is also considering a similar ordinance, but not everyone is happy about it. One Jacksonville business owner said it's taking away a person's right to choose.

The ordinance in Jacksonville Beach has already passed, but there are no pet stores that sell live animals, so Michael Kassnoff, the co-owner of Pet World on San Jose Blvd in Jacksonville, said that he has been the voice of opposition, because he doesn't want to see a similar ordinance in Jacksonville.



"That really does infringe upon the right of freedom of choice, and it certainly deters against consumer protection. We know we wouldn't feel as good about providing a home for a dog that we could not protect to a client or a perspective new family," Kassnoff said.

Kassnoff said by law that his facility must offer a health guarantee, which covers a congenital or heredity defect and other conditions, which he said, along with other personal information about the animal, must be posted on each cage. That information isn't always available from rescue shelters.

READ: Jacksonville Beach's new pet ordinance

"We need to provide the breed of the dog, date of birth, sex of the dog and then the breeder's information also has to be provided under our current regulations, so our clients can research beyond our store level and find out more things about their breeder," Kassnoff said.

According to Jacksonville Beach, puppy mills and private breeders weren't bound by similar restrictions, and people looking for a specific animal could head straight to the source, keeping the mills open.


But Kassnoff says this ordinance just cuts out the middle man, like pet stores, and could make the problem worse.

"They've never visited my store. They don't know what we do here. They don't know we've been serving families for three generations here in this location and taking care of these people and their pets and their needs. They just blanket band their cause, that's the negative affect," Kassnoff said.

Neptune Beach's ordinance is expected to be heard Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Neptune Beach city hall, and the meeting is open to the public for anyone wishing to express their opinion on the issue.