A sweeping measure that would hurt dogs and families by deterring Florida localities from protecting their communities from cruel business practices and public health threats is now poised for a final vote before reaching the governor’s desk. SB 620/HB 569 could force cities to compensate businesses for losses that owners claim are the result of a local ordinance, fortifying puppy-selling pet stores throughout Florida—including those which have been exposed for acquiring puppies from dismal puppy mills in the Midwest.

More than 80 localities in Florida have passed ordinances preventing pet stores from selling puppies sourced from puppy mills. This measure would make it virtually impossible for additional localities to make the same decision, as it could force localities that pass such ordinances to reimburse a pet store for what it could have made selling puppy mill puppies.

“Our representatives are one step away from robbing localities of the ability to reject even the cruelest business practices, including those perpetuated by the puppy mill to pet store pipeline,” said Kate MacFall, Florida state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “It’s disappointing that rather than adapting to the growing will of the people to prioritize quality of life for pets, pet store lobbyists are throwing their weight behind a measure aimed at taking away the right of localities to make their own decisions.”

Responsible breeders always want to meet directly with prospective buyers of the puppies they have raised and cared for. But the commercial breeders known as puppy mills have no such concerns, frequently shipping their puppies across country to pet stores that sell them to anyone willing to pay. In a recent snapshot investigation, the Humane Society of the United States revealed photos and videos from a sampling of five puppy mills in the Midwest that supply puppies to at least 18 Florida pet stores. This is in sharp contrast to the warm, happy homes pet stores mislead the public to think their pet store puppies come from. Too often, these unsuspecting customers purchase puppies who are gravely ill and behaviorally challenged, leading to high veterinary bills, heartbreak and alarmingly and zoonotic infections of Florida residents. 

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