The "puppy mill" regulation wave continues. Last week, in a move that mirrors several other recent initiatives, Miami-Dade County commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance aimed at cracking down on unethical commercial pet sales.
"We're going as far as we legally can to regulate an industry that is currently unregulated," said Alex Fernandez, an aide to Commissioner Lynda Bell, who is sponsoring the ordinance.
In the past three years more than 20 cities in Florida, which has among the most pet stores in the country, have adopted bans on retail-sold dogs and cats, NBC News reported last month. (North Miami Beach approved a similar ban in May.)
Commissioner Bell's amendment, called the "Miami-Dade Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Ordinance", was adopted on a first reading in April and then was unanimously adopted by the county's Public Safety and Animal Services Committee at a committee meeting and public hearing last week, with a final vote scheduled for September.
The ordinance wouldn't ban pet shops outright but would impose a host of new regulations, including new restrictions on the sources that pet shops can use to obtain their animals and stricter standards for breeders. Breeders would be legally prohibited from reproducing animals while the dogs or cats are sick or injured, for example; from breeding dogs or cats with "known or obvious congenital or hereditary diseases"; and from breeding a female dog or cat more than once within 12 months.
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Fernandez called the ordinance a piece of landmark legislation for a Florida county; Bell, he said, has long been an animal-rights advocate and pushed for the stricter laws after noticing initiatives in other areas.
"We must make Miami-Dade County a more humane county," the commissioner said at a press conference last week. "And we can't let dollars be our guiding principle when it comes to how we treat our animals."