Letters to the Editor

On pet sales in Manatee County, vote with your wallet | Letter to the editor

The Manatee County Commissioners recently held a planning session to discuss the possible ban of retail dogs and cats in our county. Manatee County currently has 2 pet stores, both owned by PetLand a big section of the room was filled with their representatives.

It was also filled with passionate and well-spoken animal advocates. I was proud to hear these articulate and well researched people speak. They shared the horrors of puppy mills, “factories,” a source for many of PetLand’s puppies. They shared statistics about the number of homeless pets in our county and the availability of any age, size or breed from rescues and legitimate breeders.

After public comments, commissioners Misty Servia and Carol Whitmore spoke passionately about their beliefs that our county should adopt a ban. Unfortunately, Commissioners Benac, Jonsson and Baugh disagreed. They opined that Manatee County should not be leaders in this fight, that it should come from the state or federal level.

Like California and Maryland, and 60 other counties or cities in Florida, I strongly believe that there is no reason for pet stores in our country to sell dogs and cats and in fact, the practice is abhorrent, filled with unintended consequences. Pet stores like PetLand thrive ONLY because people continue to get their puppies there. Buyers pay too much, know too little and perpetuate a hideous industry that treats pets like property.

With or without the commissioners’ help, we can stop this. Vote with your wallet and don’t buy your puppies and kittens from any retail store. Spread the word through your social media. Store like PetLand can still profit from the $65.72 Billion pet industry without selling pets. They need our help to be nudged into changing their business model.

Debra Starr