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Collier County commissioners still haven’t decided if they want to regulate pet shops

Rescue groups versus Collier County’s only pet shop owner. Almost three hours of discussion and county leaders could not decide if the county should regulate pet shops.

With several items on the agenda, most people were there for the animals.

The sale of puppies is legal in Collier County and commissioners made that clear during the meeting. But they will consider whether they should pass new rules to ensure the safety of those puppies.

“I think they’re trying to regulate us out of business…so much regulation to where we can’t operate and we can’t make a profit anymore,” said Nathan Bazler, owner of Collier County’s only puppy store.

One more is setting up shop down the road.

Animal advocates begged county commissioners Tuesday to keep extra eyes on those stores.

“If there’s no regulation, there’s no way to say that any puppy that was sold here was bred responsibly,” said Jonathan Foerster with the Humane Society of Naples.

That’s because some pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills, a terrible fate the Humane Society of Naples sees far too often.

“Animals are kept in cages that don’t have floors, they’re not given any exercise, they’re bred continuously,” Foerster said.

Proposed regulations include visits from the vet three times a week, frequent inspections and requirements to sterilize all puppies.

Bazler calls the regulations retaliatory.

“The premise that they start with is that we’re bad,” he said. “We’re a small business. To bring a vet in here three times a week, which is what is proposed, would cost our business $35,000 a year.”

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Briana Harvath
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