CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- A proposed ordinance in Cape Coral could make it illegal for pet stores to sell you cats and dogs.
The ordinance, introduced by councilman Richard Williams, states it's goal is to discourage puppy and kitten mills. Jennifer Galloway, Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Humane Society, is thrilled the city is considering it. The humane society is busting with pets who need homes. Galloway's mantra: Adopt, don't shop. "To continue to produce these puppies in mass supply when we have shelters overfull is just craziness," she said.
Conditions in puppy mills is what raises concern. Galloway has seen puppy mills in surrounding counties herself. "They are living in stacked crates, urinating and defecating on each other," she said.
But not everyone agrees with this ordinance. Shane Reinhardt and his family own Patriot Pets and Supplies, the only pet store in Cape Coral that sells puppies.
The military veteran family believes the ordinance is unfair because they do everything by the book. "Me being the only pet store in the Cape that offers dogs, obviously, it's a shot at me," he said. "It won't affect anybody else. It won't affect breeders here in the Cape that offer either bad quality dogs, or don't stick by the health guarantees I have to stick by."
Reinhardt says his family is very strict about where they get their dogs. Because of a Florida pet lemon law, he says he's on the hook for a pets health for the first year of its life. He also says he's inspected by the Department of Agriculture and Florida Fish and Wilflife. "Us being a pet store, we have to use a network of breeders that are registered with the department of agriculture. Those breeders are subject to the same inspections I am. So it kind of creates a little closer knit bond, so I'm not getting puppies from people I don't know," he said.
However, Galloway is not convinced. "If folks do want to adopt a specific breed, go to a reputable breeder. Meet mom and dad. A reputable breeder isn't going to let their puppies go to a pet store," she said.
Fox 4 reached out to Councilman Williams to see why he proposed this ordinance. He said he does not have enough information to make a statement yet.
You can give your input on this issue at city council on October 1.