Manatee County joins push to end puppy-mill pipeline

Published: August 10, 2021 4:05 PM EDT
Updated: August 11, 2021 11:41 AM EDT
Credit: Pixabay

A Florida county is making a move to protect animals by banning stores from selling them.

Manatee County commissioners on Tuesday voted to ban pet stores from selling dogs and cats. They join more than 70 other Florida jurisdictions in doing so.

There are more than 400 laws nationwide.

Animal advocates say it’s a big win because it can eliminate a critical outlet for puppy mills, which breed animals in cramped and cruel conditions, then sell the offspring to pet stores.

The ASPCA reports most puppies shipped to Florida were from commercial puppy brokers, who act as “middlemen” in the puppy mill pipeline.

The Humane Society says responsible breeders don’t sell their puppies to pet stores, and most pet stores don’t disclose where their puppies actually come from. They often say they work with “USDA-licensed” breeders, but the USDA says its regulations are simply minimum requirements for survival.

The agency’s own animal welfare fact sheet says while they establish acceptable standards, they aren’t ideal.

Most pet stores are against the push, saying they get their pets from reputable breeders and worry ending dog and cat sales will lead to employees losing their jobs.

A statewide bill failed in the Florida House last year but is expected to come back for discussion in 2022.

If you’re looking for a forever friend here in Southwest Florida, there are several places you can go. These shelters always have plenty of animals looking for homes. This is not an exhaustive list of rescues in Southwest Florida. A Google search will help you find more, especially if you’re looking for a certain breed.

Cape Coral Animal Shelter

Lee County Domestic Animal Services

Animal Refuge Center, North Fort Myers

Gulf Coast Humane Society, Fort Myers

Collier County Domestic Animal Services

Humane Society Naples

Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County, Port Charlotte

Suncoast Humane Society, Englewood

DeSoto County Animal Control, Arcadia

Caloosa Humane Society, LaBelle