Manatee County suffers from an over-abundance of homeless pets, especially dogs, most dramatically witnessed by overcrowding at the shelter operated by Animal Services. The various rescue organizations help tremendously by taking pets out of the shelter and serving as key facilitators for animal adoption.
So it comes as welcome news that Commissioner Carol Whitmore seeks consideration of an ordinance that prohibits pet stores from obtaining animals from puppy mills.
Seventy-eight jurisdictions across the country limit pet stores sales to only animals from shelters, rescue groups, humane societies and hobby breeders. Federal court decisions have upheld these regulations. In June, a federal judge spurned a Broward County pet store's claim that the city of Sunrise ban on the sale of commercially bred puppies and kittens was unconstitutional.
Particularly egregious are the pet stores that import these "commodities" from outside Florida, simply aggravating the problem of homeless animal overpopulation as new owners regret their purchase and abandon their pets over time.
A Manatee County ordinance will be discussed during a commission work session on Sept. 15, the first step in a long and hopefully successful process.
Rescue animals make great loyal and loving pets, as countless testimonials indicate. This is a highly recommended route toward acquiring a pet. Giving a homeless, abandoned animal a forever home also teaches children a valuable lesson in compassion, something that can never be had with a puppy-mill pet.