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Hillsborough County Commissioners cracking down on commercial dog breeding facilities

Posted at 6:37 AM, Oct 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-02 17:19:53-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Hillsborough County leaders are taking action to protect other animals after 350 dogs were saved from a Tampa breeding facility.

Commissioner Ken Hagan tells ABC Action News he plans to call for recommendations to strengthen the county’s pet retail ordinance, addressing commercial dog breeding facilities.

That means tougher standards for pet stores.

“This is unconscionable at how folks can still operate like that in our county is just unfathomable,” Hagan said to reporters on Wednesday.

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Just two years ago commissioners passed a new set of rules in an effort to stop sales of pets from puppy mills.

That ordinance required pet stores to provide inspection reports, register with the county and only purchase dogs from licensed USDA breeders without recent violations.

ABC Action News asked the county’s animal resource director exactly what “commercial dog breeding facilities” are — but we were told that the ordinance doesn’t define this exactly, and that needs to be looked into.

RELATED: 300 dogs seized from Tampa breeding facility

Hagan said the ordinance that was updated in 2017 does not address irresponsible breeders.

The set of rules passed two years ago were put in place in an effort to stop sales of pets from puppy mills.

The dogs authorities seized last week are recovering at the Pet Resource Center.

They were taken from Trisha’s Breeding and officials say they were in bad health and kept in unsafe conditions.

RELATED: 350 seized dogs by animal investigators will not be available for adoption for at least 30 days

Authorities say they were living in filth and extremely overcrowded with 20 to 30 dogs in each cage. Animal investigators said they had to put down an additional dog from Trish’s facility since the seizure.

The Pet Resource Center is overwhelmed with donations, which are a big help since many of the dogs have delivered puppies.

“Within a day, we were starting to get deliveries and then they started getting bigger and bigger so you could tell as the message was getting out, more people were responding,” said Scott Trebatoski with the Pet Resource Center.

The organization still needs money to care for some of the tickets dogs with specialized medical problems. The Pet Resource Center put together an Amazon wish list if the community wants to help.

The dogs are at an undisclosed location and are still not available for adoption, a process that could take 30 to 60 days.

County commissioners approved Hagan's agenda item unanimously for the county attorney to review ordinance and see what changes could be made. The recommendations are expected at a November commission meeting.

As for the irresponsible dog breeders, Hagan vows something will be done, “you better look over shoulder, because Hillsborough County is coming after you,” Hagan said.