Manatee County Commissioners pass ordinance to ban retail sales of dogs and cats

Manatee County bans retail sales of dogs and cats.
Manatee County bans retail sales of dogs and cats.(WWSB)
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 10:59 PM EDT
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BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - The discussion lasting for more than five hours. In the end, Manatee County Commissioners approving the ordinance to ban the retail sales of dogs and cats by a vote of 4-3.

“I want to tell Commissioners Whitmore and Servia that your fight was all worth it for this ending,” said Traci Lipton, an activist who supports this ban. “And I would love to tell Commissioners Kruse and Bellamy thank you so, so much for your support.”

This is the fifth time in 10 years this debate was in front of commissioners. Supporters of the ban say these puppies and kittens were being sold in at least three Manatee County stores from out-of-state puppy mills, where conditions are said to be horrendous for these animals.

“I’ve been here doing the Petland protests in Sarasota and Manatee counties for about five years and maybe a little bit more,” said Lipton. “And I’m thrilled to death and over the moon that I will no longer have to do that in these two counties.”

Opponents of the ban included owners and employees from Petland. They told commissioners the passing of this ordinance means employees losing their jobs and their business possibly shutting down. None of them wanted to talk to ABC7 before or after the decision, but here’s some of what they had to say during the meeting.

“At the Petland family, we strive to maintain an environment with the highest standard in quality and care,” said the owner of one of the Petland locations. “We vet our industry leaders immensely, to make sure that they’re following USDA regulations, so that we have happy, healthy animals.”

“You don’t have the authority to prevent a law-abiding citizen from engaging in business, just because there’s a chance of illegal activity at some point,” said another Petland supporter.

These businesses will not be allowed to sell dogs or cats within a year. More than 60 people on both sides of the issue had a chance to have their voices heard.

“I’m feeling relief, hundreds and thousands of people in the county have asked for this for years and it finally happened,” said Commissioner Carol Whitmore. “I’m very grateful for the commissioners who voted for this, it’s a great day in Manatee County, for animal welfare.”

Manatee County joins around 80 other communities and counties in Florida that have a similar ordinance in place.

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