Pet stores in Hillsborough County will soon be operating under much stricter rules, after the Board of County Commissioners voted today to try to crack down on puppy mills.
The new ordinance will hold pet stores to a higher standard, banning them outright from buying dogs from "puppy mills" and could lead to a pet store being cited, and potentially shut down if a pet store is caught doing so multiple times. The restrictions also forbid pet stores from selling sick puppies, with approval by a veterinarian.
Other regulations include making breeder information available to customers, advertising signage by pet stores must also encourage pet adoption, and stores must help find homes for returned dogs.
There are only 3 pet stores operating legally in Hillsborough County right now, but one of them, Puppies Tampa, was cited by the state recently, and the store owner, Maurice Barrett, was arrested.
The other two locally-owned stores, All About Puppies, had many of their employees at the County Commission meeting Wednesday to vouch for the store quality and care for animals. The store owners and employees told the County Commissioners that the new restrictions may be difficult but manageable since it means the stores can continue to operate, as opposed to being banned altogether, as they have been in some other states.