TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The battle over pet stores is heating up in the state Capitol with two competing bills up for consideration, but as the Humane Society warns, one is a Trojan horse.
If you’re planning to buy a cat or a dog for a loved one this Christmas, the Humane Society recommends adoption or purchasing from a trusted breeder.
One thing it doesn’t recommend is buying from a pet store.
“Because we know that puppies and kittens that are for sale in retail stores come from puppy mills,” said Kate MacFall, the Florida director of the Humane Society.
MacFall told us the group’s No. 1 legislative priority in the upcoming session is a bill that would outright ban the sale of cats and dogs in retail pet stores.
“This issue is becoming more and more popular and more talked about,” said MacFall.
But MacFall said they’re competing against a bill filed in the Senate, which sells itself as protecting animal welfare.
“It’s truly disguised as trying to be an animal welfare bill, and in fact, it does just the opposite,” said MacFall.
MacFall says the devil is in the details.
The bill includes a preemption that would undo local policies banning retail pet stores.
“It would remove two ordinances that were passed this summer, strong ordinances here in Florida, and then prohibit any future ordinance prohibiting the retail sale of dogs and cats,” said MacFall.
The preemption bill has come up many times in the past, but advocates have successfully quashed it.
They expect this year will be no different.
“The pet store preemption bills just ensure that the puppy mill to pet store pipeline stays intact, and they’re harmful to animals and harmful to consumers, as well,” said MacFall.
Neither bill has secured both a House and Senate sponsor, but MacFall told us she does expect a senator to sign onto the pet store ban in the coming weeks.
MacFall also noted that the pet store ban legislation wouldn’t prevent people from purchasing cats and dogs from breeders.