Pet stores aren’t the place for furry friends, says Sam Killebrew bill

The Golden retriever and the kitten
The bill would impose fines on stores selling pets.

Looking to give a four-legged friend a forever home? Lawmakers could consider a bill next Session to ban pet stores from selling cats and dogs.

The bill is part of a growing effort to curb puppy mills and breeders with inhumane practices. Rep. Sam Killebrew‘s legislation (HB 45) takes a different tack than what lawmakers tried last Session with legislation to regulate the industry. The Winter Haven Republican’s bill would instead impose fines up to $500 for each dog or cat available for purchase from a pet store.

The ban would not prevent individuals from selling pets they have bred and raised themselves, but retail stores selling dogs or cats would constitute a noncriminal offense. Under the proposed law, local governments could create harsher restrictions at the city or county level.

Pasco County in September became the ninth county in Florida to pass a local ban. More than 50 cities in the state have also passed similar ordinances, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

In an attempt to bridge the gap caused by the patchwork of local regulations, bills filed for the 2020 Session would have required pet stores to hold licenses to sell pets and would have demanded veterinarians inspect breeders for humane conditions.

But that legislation died at the end of the Session without lawmakers considering it. Senators passed over that bill after twice scheduling it for hearings, and House leadership never scheduled companion legislation for a hearing in that body.

Hialeah Republican Sen. Manny Díaz said earlier this year that he filed the Senate bill after local governments moved toward outright bans after struggling to regulate bad breeders.

“So we have to have the philosophical argument,” he said. “Pets aside, are we going to live in a free market society where now we’re going to allow different municipalities to start banning businesses. So what’s next? Is it beauty salons, is it gyms, is it gas stations? Where does it stop.”

However, Killebrew’s bill, which would take effect in July, would follow in local governments’ footsteps.

Killebrew declined an interview with Florida Politics for this story.

California was the first state to pass a statewide ban, and Maine and Maryland joined them earlier this year.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist had been part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers pushing for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to tighten licensing requirements for breeders. In May, the department made those reforms.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


29 comments

  • S B ANTHONY

    December 9, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Long overdue. The next step is to ban breeding altogether. It only adds to the overpopulation of unwanted animals.

  • Jaimee Parry

    December 9, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    Thank-you Rep. Killebrew for your leadership on this!

  • Sky Girl

    December 9, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    Yes!!! This is great!! I support this 100%!!!!

  • Pattie Holley

    December 9, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    This bill is much needed. It will be a stepping stone to ending the puppy mills.

  • Michelle benoit

    December 9, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    These establishments have been selling sick 1/2 dead animals for years , they need to be stopped once & for all !
    Be the voice for the voiceless!
    Ban the sell of furry critters and save lives !
    This is not a political issue it’s a moral issue & innocent animals suffer

  • Callie's Dad

    December 9, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    I support HB45 100%
    The retail sale of puppies is supporting inhumane practices, and they need to be stopped.

  • Cindy Harrold

    December 9, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Totally support this bill and the efforts of the people helping. The retail sale of pets is inhumane and the practices are horrific.

  • Stephanie

    December 9, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    Hope HB45 is passed and goes on to become law. Not only do these stores sell sick puppies to people, but it aids in our overpopulation problem within this state. Reform is long overdue!

  • Fran Badlotto

    December 9, 2020 at 10:55 pm

    There is no need for pet shops selling animals. There are enough rescues out there and you can even get the breed of your choice in most cases. Let’s take care of those in shelters and stop this inhumane business. By the way, nobody is coming after other types of businesses, unless of course they are selling animals too!

  • Stacey Mazza

    December 10, 2020 at 5:16 am

    Agree 100%. This needs to pass. We need to end the puppy mill industry, and this is a step in the right direction to achieve it.

  • Audree Berg

    December 10, 2020 at 7:27 am

    Pet Stores are not the place to purchase pets! This bill is long overdue.

  • Hilda Cummings

    December 10, 2020 at 7:41 am

    I am behind HB45 110%
    There’s no need to buy puppy mill puppies when thousands of dogs are dying in the shelters.
    Always adopt, never shop!

  • Kim Walker

    December 10, 2020 at 7:41 am

    No responsible breeder would ever let a pet store sell their puppies! If there is a puppy store who really IS getting their dogs from responsible breeders, why not come forward and explain to is how it can be done?

  • David Torgerson

    December 10, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Please make this happen. Pet stores sell puppy mill puppies. It must end. I support HB 45

  • DisplacedCTYankee

    December 10, 2020 at 9:57 am

    Puppy mills and breeders should be shut down regardless of how “humane” their treatment is. Cats and dogs know how to breed just fine, thank you.

  • john s agresti

    December 10, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Pets -like every other bloody thing in this culture -are treated as a commodity -by sellers and buyers alike. PLEASE -don’t get a pet unless you are an animal lover.

  • Dale Encinosa

    December 10, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    I support HB45 100%. The retail sale of dogs and cats must be stopped as it is a cruel industry supporting puppy mills!

  • Wendy Lynn

    December 10, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    Thank God for the advocate groups .. Puppy Mills are Filled with sick tortured inbred dogs, just to produce puppy’s in substandard conditions often born with defects themselves ..

  • Dawn

    December 11, 2020 at 11:15 am

    I’m so hopeful that this will pass. So much heartbreak and abuse comes from retail stores.

  • Ashley

    December 11, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Passing this bill should really be a no brainer. Some issues are very black and white. So you either think it’s wrong to keep a mother dog in a wire floor cage barely bigger than her body for her entire life, or you’re just evil.

  • Lisa c

    December 11, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    We will ensure this passes! It takes an army to save these poor innocent pets.

  • Patricia Bain

    December 12, 2020 at 12:08 am

    My heartbreaks for the puppy mill dogs that live in horrendous conditions. My heartbreaks for the sick and dying puppies sold in these stores. My heart doesn’t break for the people that continue to purchase puppies from retail stores at outrageous prices. Your purchase continues the breeding. Adopt don’t shop.

  • Polett Villalta

    December 12, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Please make this happen. Pet Stores should not be selling animals. It is not only wrong for the poor animals living in cruel conditions, but also the individuals thinking their are getting a healthy pet.

  • Joann

    December 12, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    I support this 100% This is long long overdue. We need to speak for these poor voiceless animals

  • Terry

    December 13, 2020 at 1:58 am

    Absolutely ridiculous government overreach based on lies and propaganda.Breeders are NOT responsible for animals in shelters. The numbers are grossly exaggerated and the few pets in shelters are most pit mixes or animals with severe behavior problems.Retail rescue is busy shipping in pups from other countries in huge numbers to fill the need. Why is that allowed if there are so many unwanted pets? Stop listening to the crap about “puppy mills” from scam rescues and breeder haters.People know where shelters are if that is there choice. STOP harrassing legal businesses.

  • Gloria

    December 13, 2020 at 11:13 am

    I support this 100% as well. Very often these dogs are used as hunting dogs. I realize not in ALL cases, but in many cases. I do not support hunting, but even if I did, I’d make the argument that a hunter doesn’t leave his gun outside as they do with these dogs. No, that gun is taken inside and well cared for, as any creature should be.

  • Robert

    December 13, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    I support this. Banning the retail sale of dogs and cats is the only way to shut down puppy mills. This abuse has to stop.

  • Nina Perino

    December 14, 2020 at 6:23 am

    Yes,so long overdue for Florida! Please this needs to pass! Every breed has a non profit rescue organization, that says a lot.
    #adoptdontshop #dontbreedandbuy #rescuedismyfavoritebreed

  • Missy Williams

    December 14, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    I am happy to see this is happening. This type of business exploits puppies/kittens and people for money with no regard for the health of the animals. It encourages and supports the filthy mills. Just needs to be banned. There is absolutely nothing good about a puppy/kitten store. Zero. Zilch. Adopt from a shelter. #adoptdontshop #rescuepets

Comments are closed.


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