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They claimed they offered animal shelter dogs. Manatee County says that’s not true.

A statement on the Petland Bradenton website stating that they offer adoptions of Manatee County Animal Services animals has been removed. This comes just days after Manatee County Attorney's Office sent a demand letter to Petland, threatening legal action.
A statement on the Petland Bradenton website stating that they offer adoptions of Manatee County Animal Services animals has been removed. This comes just days after Manatee County Attorney's Office sent a demand letter to Petland, threatening legal action. ttompkins@bradenton.com

A statement on the Petland Bradenton website stating that they offer adoptions of Manatee County Animal Services animals has been removed.

By 10 a.m. Monday, Petland Bradenton had removed the statement, which had stated they offer adoptions of Animal Services small dogs and puppies in their store, which was followed by a disclaimer of “COMING SOON.”

“I had it down this morning,” Petland co-owner Stephen Benecke said Monday.

The removal of the statement came a few days after Manatee County Attorney’s Office sent a demand letter to Petland on March 2, asking them to remove the inaccurate statement, according to a county email.

“In the letter, we will also inform the proprietor that legal action may be forthcoming,” County Attorney Mickey Palmer said.

But Benecke said Petland had removed the statement from the website’s homepage when they were first notified by the county attorney, but says they “didn’t realize it was on the second page.”

“We thought it was purely on the homepage,” Benecke said. “It was a mistake. We had it rectified immediately. As soon as I got in this morning, it’s gone.”

In an email to county commissioners on Feb. 24, Palmer said Petland has had the statement on its website “for quite some time.”

“No such arrangement has ever been in place and there are no ongoing discussions regarding such an arrangement,” Palmer said in the email. “Repeated pleas on the part of the Animal Services Division and on the part of this office, directly to the proprietor, to remove the inaccurate statement, have been to no avail.”

In September 2015, Petland Bradenton offered to house up to 15 dogs from Animal Services at its store, 3530 53rd Ave. W., Bradenton.

“We are very excited to begin bringing in adoptable pets from the shelter and helping find homes for them,” Benecke said at that time.

On Monday, Benecke said, “We tried, but it never came to fruition, unfortunately.”

Petland Bradenton was at the center of a September 2015 commission meeting, where commissioners discussed an ordinance to ban pet stores from selling animals from puppy mills.

Many Petland employees spoke at the meeting, where they denied claims that they get animals from puppy mills. The commission elected to not move forward with the measure.

Claire Aronson: 941-745-7024, @Claire_Aronson

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