Sarasota, Florida- Sarasota pet store owners unite to put the brakes on a county proposal. Commissioners are considering preventing pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits bred in mills.
Public comment was not on the agenda, but people from both sides flooded the building eager to voice their opinions.
Pet store owners and their supporters sat through the commission meeting holding a sign saying, "No ordinance, My Pet, My Choice." While those in support of the proposed ban wore stickers saying, "Vote Yes".
Pet store owners say they are willing to work with the county on tougher regulations to protect animals and pet owners, but say that this proposed ban is not the answer.
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"Puppy Town does not support puppy mills. Puppy Town does not support bad breeders because we care about the well-being of our pets over profits and that's how we've had a successful business the last 5 years," said William Rowland, owner of Puppy Town on North Tamiami Trail.
Elliot Metcalf is one of many people who turned out in support of the proposed ban during the hour-and-a-half long public speaking segment.
"If you've ever been, you'll never buy a puppy from a pet store again. It's disgusting," said Metcalf. "I think the community has a right to learn about this issue, and the best way is to advertise the proposed ordinance."
Sarasota County Commissioners had planned to vote on setting a public hearing date for the proposed ban, but after hearing public comment, commissioners decided to delay the vote and ask the county attorney to evaluate the legality of the ordinance. The county attorney has 60 days to report back to commissioners.
Pet Store owners say if the county passes the ban as is, it would be the first county in the country to have such a strict ordinance. County officials say they do not know if the claim is true.
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