New proposed crackdown on Hillsborough County pet stores

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - New changes could mean tougher standards for existing pet stores in Hillsborough County. This comes after a heated proposal to ban pet stores from selling purebred dogs in the county got put on hold.

Instead of pet shops having to likely close up altogether, they could instead just have a new set of tough rules to follow.

Commissioner Victor Crist said this is in an effort to stop sales of pets from puppy mills.

Under the proposed changes, Hillsborough County would let existing pet stores continue operating their business and selling purebred dogs from breeders. 

But they would have to agree to only purchased dogs from licensed, USDA breeders who don't have any recent violations.

They would also need to provide inspection reports from breeders to buyers, provide information about adopting shelter dogs, microchip every dog, and rehome any dog that gets brought into a shelter that came from their store.

All existing pet stores would need to register with the county, submit paperwork and agree to inspect their breeders, even out-of-state breeders, at least once per year.

Some pet store owners say they think these proposed rules will help them stay in business.

"We've done this for 22 years and this was going to be our legacy to our family," said Regina Galloway, owner of All About Puppies. "If they're coming in with just following up on the stuff they asked us to do, we don't have a problem with it."

But some animal advocates say pet stores need to stop selling dogs from large-scale breeders altogether, even if they are licensed by the USDA.

"It's supply and demand," said Dr. Betsy Coville, a USDA Licensed Vet. "We have to stop buying the puppies before we stop breeding the puppies. "Even though they're saying that they're licensed and they're not inspected very often and the standards are minimal."

Commissioners are expected to vote on these new rules following a public hearing on May 17 at 10:00 a.m.

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