Fort Lauderdale proposes new pet store policy

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The way some pets are sold at stores in one South Florida city may be changing. It all has to do with so-called “puppy mills.”

For folks in Fort Lauderdale looking to bring home a dog or cat, the city is taking steps to make sure their new pets come from the right places.

“Nobody wants to make a profit on abused animals,” said Humane Society of Broward County Senior Vice President Anthony Proper. “It’s the wrong avenue to go.”

If you adopt a pet from the Humane Society of Broward County, you know they’ve been taken care of, but that’s not always the case when you go to a pet store.

That’s why the Fort Lauderdale City Commission is considering cracking down on puppy mills by banning the sale of dogs and cats in stores, unless they come from a non-profit like Animal Control or a rescue organization.

“It’s a facade, really,” said Humane Society of Broward County Vice President of Education Caroline Crane, “so you see the cute little animal, you don’t see all the suffering behind how the animal got there.”

Several cities across Florida have taken similar steps, like Deerfield Beach and Hollywood did last year.

If the Fort Lauderdale proposal passes Tuesday evening, stores would have to partner with non-profits to sell or adopt out pets and show proof of where they came from.

Of course, not everyone’s on board.

Opponents argue that the ban hurts reputable breeders and could put some people out of business, but a representative for the city said that’s not likely because there are no major pet retailers in Fort Lauderdale.

“It’s not to put anybody out of business. It’s not to abuse animals further by creating a need for supply from puppy mills.”

The Fort Lauderdale City Commission meeting is now underway. This is one of the last items on the agenda, so a decision will likely be made late Tuesday evening.

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