CAPE CORAL, Fla. — For the third time, the City of Cape Coral is proposing an ordinance to ban the retail sale of cats and dogs within the city limits. City leaders last attempted to enact the ban in September 2018.
"The main reason for this ordinance is to ban the retail sale of pets at the pet stores, because they're coming from puppy mills," said JoAnn Elardo, board president of the Cape Coral Animal Shelter.
Elardo said that those mills are notorious for sanitation problems and overcrowding.
"They're coming down from out of state," she said. "They're in very hot trailers. Half of them die before they even reach the pet stores."
Shane Reinhardt, vice-president of Patriot Pets and Supplies on Pine Island Road, said that his store is the only one in Cape Coral that currently sells dogs.
"Since we're the only one in the city that it would affect, it does feel a little like targeting," Reinhardt said.
But he said that the dogs he sells come from reputable dealers, not puppy mills.
"That's why I'm trying to fight (the ordinance) so much, because we're not like those other stores," Reinhardt said. "Our dogs are with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We take them home with us every night."
Other cities in Florida already ban the retail sale of dogs and cats, as do California and Maryland.
Cape Coral city council is expected to vote on the third ban proposal August 5.