Florida House tax bill could make sale of puppy mill dogs legal

A Florida lawmaker is working to put an end to puppy mills after dozens of puppies heading to a local pet store were found in filthy conditions, but a tax bill in the house (HB 7087) may make it harder.

If the Florida House tax bill passes, the sale of puppy mill dogs would continue even if local ordinances ban it due to the bills vague language.

The amendment in the tax bill prevents local governments from prohibiting or restricting the sale of lawfully taxable personal property. While pets and pet stores are not specifically mentioned in the bill, animals sold at pet stores are taxable ‘personal property’, so they would fall into this category.

The next vote is scheduled for Friday.

Lee County Domestic Animal Services seized 24 puppies from a Petland store on College Parkway shortly after they arrived from a Missouri Company—Puppy Travelers LLC.

“This company is delivering these dogs in sick conditions and we’ve seen it all over the state, on the east coast also,” said Michele Lazarow, Vice Mayor of Hallandale Beach.

“Right now, we have 60 ordinances in cities and counties across Florida,” Lazarow said. “What these ordinances do is basically protect against consumer fraud and sick dogs and animal abuse, which is the sick puppies that are sold in puppy stores which tend to be sick and come from puppy mills.”

Jim Fraser chose to adopt his pet at the Gulf Coast Humane Society instead of buying a puppy from a store.

“It always boils down to special interests, probably somebody’s looking out for the bottom line, the money, not the dogs. So that bill, I think should be voted down,” Fraser said.

Lee County Domestic Animal Services said the puppies seized last week are still being evaluated and are not ready to be adopted.

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Reporter:Taylor Bisacky