The City of Lake Worth, Florida has introduced a city ordinance defining a pet store as a business selling dogs and cats, and then goes on to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. This proposal also establishes requirements for the sale of dogs and cats, although it bans such sale. The ordinance has been read before the City Commission and is set for a another reading and public hearing on Tuesday, February 15th.
The planned ordinance states that “no pet store may display, sell, trade, deliver, barter, lease, rent, auction, give away, transfer, offer for sale or transfer, or otherwise dispose of dogs or cats in Lake Worth”. “Pet store” is defined as “any retail business open to the public that sells or transfers, or offers for sale or transfer, dogs and/or cats, including puppies and kittens, regardless of the age of the dog or cat.” Therefore, under this proposal, by definition, a pet store may not legally exist.
Pet stores, even though they may not legally exist, would also be required to post and maintain, in a conspicuous place, on or within three feet of each animal’s kennel, cage or enclosure, a certificate of source of each dog or cat offered for sale or transfer. A copy of the certificate must also be provided to the purchaser or transferee of any dog or cat sold or transferred, even though the sale or transfer of a dog or cat is prohibited altogether under the ordinance!
PIJAC strongly supports the right to keep pets, and the right of pet owners to have options as to where they obtain their companion animals based on the pet owner’s individual circumstances, needs and preferences. Pet stores provide healthy, responsibly raised pets to the public, and should serve as one of the options pet owners may turn to in choosing a companion animal, including a dog or cat. Discriminatory bans against the sale of animals by pet stores are poor public policy, and are harmful to pets and pet owners. Such bans do not benefit animals or the pet owning public. A ban targeting pet stores to protect animals is not rational. Pet stores are already more heavily regulated than any other source of pet animals.
The City Commission will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Hall Commission Chamber which is located 7 North Dixie Highway, Lake Worth, FL.