Fido may live in your home now, but do you have any idea where your dog was born and spent her first few months of life? A new ordinance passed by the Miami-Dade County Commission aims to educate prospective owners about where their dog came from, and to place tougher regulations on dog and cat sellers and breeders within county limits.
The Miami-Dade Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act requires all pet sellers to display the name of the dogs breeder and address near its enclosure. The ordinance wants to empower prospective buyers to make sure that their dog isn't coming from an inhumane puppy mill.
The Miami Herald points out that many dogs in Miami-Dade are bred in Missouri. However, it turns out that Colombia is actually a top importer of dogs to America, sending about 14,000 puppies to the country each year.
The bill also places tougher restrictions on how dogs and cats can be kept in pet stores.
Animals can no longer have their cages stacked one atop the other, and keeping animals in cages with wire bottoms is no longer legal. Any openings in the bottom of the cage must be smaller than the animal's paw, and in no case can have a diameter of more than a quarter inch.
The ordinance also has rules for any dog breeding that goes on within a county. Females dogs and cats cannot be bred more than once a year unless the breeder seeks out the OK from a veterinarian. Records must be kept of all breeding, and any animal used for breeding must be microchipped. Pregnant animals must also be allowed to have access to outdoor, ground-level exercise areas.
The ordinance was sponsored by outgoing commissioner Lynda Bell, and follows a City of Miami vote last month that takes the first step in exploring whether to ban the sale of puppies within city limits all together.