Pinellas Co. working to keep animals healthier, breeders to be held accountable

Posted at 5:27 AM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-30 09:19:34-04

Dara Eckart, the Executive Director of Friends of Strays, can't get enough of the Pocket Pitbull, Kita, that came into the shelter as a stray.

"Say, adopt me! Someone come adopt me" said Dara, as she played with Kita. "A lot of times when dogs are no longer useful as a breeder, they can't produce any more puppies, the owners just let them go! Unfortunately we think that’s what happened to Kita."

Pinellas County is trying to stop that. 

"There were people out there who were selling dogs and cats flea markets they were too young, or they were completely weaned, they didn't have the proper healthcare or health certificates," said Doug Brightwell, the Director of Animal Services in Pinellas.

That is no longer allowed. In the past, if you sold two litters of animals a year or less - you didn't have to get a pet dealer license. The cap is now less than 1 full litter. The county says those folks would be inspected each year.

If you want to get around that type of license - become a member of a kennel club and the county will consider you a hobby breeder. The kennel clubs make sure members meet certain standards.The county also says if you take out an ad online like craigslist for example - you MUST include the county license number in the ad. Brightwell says this is to keep animals healthy and customers happy.

"It can be pretty devastating to the family to purchase an animal that is chronically ill or does pass away very quickly," said Brightwell. "It's heartbreaking for the families."

The changes to the ordinance go into effect April 1st. Eckart adds if you are interest in a cat - an anonymous donor will pay the adoption fees for all 55 cats in the shelter for the month of April. Click here for more information on the shelter.