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New bill would ban retail sale of dogs, cats

The dog days may soon be over for pet retailers that sell dogs and cats in their stores.
The dog days may soon be over for pet retailers that sell dogs and cats in their stores.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The dog days may soon be over for pet retailers that sell dogs and cats in their stores.

New legislation recently filed in the state Capitol would cut down on puppy mills, but some store owners argue a blanket ban may go too far.

Legislation banning retail sales of animals is the top legislative priority of the Humane Society.

“Five states have passed a similar bill,” said Kate MacFall with the Humane Society.

MacFall said dogs and cats sold by retailers are often sourced from puppy mills.

“Which are commercial large-scale breeders who put the profit above the welfare of the animals,” said MacFall.

Under the legislation, you would only be allowed to adopt a cat or a dog from a shelter or you could purchase an animal from a trusted breeder.

Carol Hoover, owner of Carol’s Critters in the capital city no longer sells dogs in her store, but when she did, she sourced them from local breeders.

“I visited the breeders,” said Hoover. I went to their actual houses.”

She said she understands the concerns that come with larger retailers, but worries a blanket ban on sales could cut off opportunities for breeders and consumers to connect.

“A lot of people didn’t want other people coming to their house,” said Hoover. “They had a few puppies, they didn’t want to have them come by. This was another outlet for them.”

But MacFall argued banning sales in stores will prevent impulse purchases, which could hopefully reduce the number of cats and dogs ending up in shelters.

“That’s the old puppy in the window,” said MacFall. “You know that whole theme.”

The bill has an effective date of July 1, 2022, but the Humane Society told us it envisions a gradual rollout to give retailers time to sell pets already in store.

If passed, retailers caught selling cats or dogs in their storefronts would face a fine of up to $500.