Southwest Florida activists, breeders react to California puppy mill law

Posted at 10:47 PM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-16 22:50:18-04

California made history by becoming the first state to ban the sale of animals from puppy mills at pet stores, and now animal activists in southwest Florida are hoping the Sunshine State follows suit.

The new law requires pet stores to work with animal shelters or rescues if they want to sell dogs, cats, or rabbits.

This means rescue dogs would be seen in pet shops, which Jennifer Galloway at Gulf Coast Humane Society says would be highly beneficial in getting the animals into good homes.

"We have to get creative because we have to bring the people in here. Going to a storefront is a lot easier than going off the beaten path to a shelter," Galloway said.

She says the new law helps put an end to puppy mills.

"if we're not buying those puppies that were born in a puppy mill, then we're putting them out of business," Galloway said.

Not everyone is happy with the new legislation. One couple who used to breed dogs in Cape Coral said they'd only have a few puppies at a time, and said this new law will put a lot of responsible breeders out of business.

Four in Your Corner reached out to Petland in Fort myers to see how a law like the one in California would impact their business. They had no comment.

Galloway said she doesn't think it will be long before Florida follows California's lead, saying some pet stores are already moving in the direction of rescue.

"If you look at Petco, Petsmart, they kind of started this trend years ago when they said 'No, we're only going to allow rescues into our facilities,'" Galloway said.

The American Kennel Club has been speaking out against the law since it was initially proposed. It says:

"Retail pet store bans remove available consumer protections for  new pet owners, limit the ability of pet owners to obtain the appropriate pet for their lifestyle, and potentially increase public health risks."