Manny Diaz, Juan Fernandez-Barquin to revive bill regulating pet sales
Image via AP.

Britain Puppy Sales
GOP lawmakers failed to push through a previous version of the bill.

Sen. Manny Diaz and Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin will give a new face to an old bill this Session, as they’re sponsoring a measure aiming to more strictly regulate pet sales — and help cut down on puppy mills.

The two GOP lawmakers are fronting the measures (SB 994, HB 849). Fernandez-Barquin takes over the House version from Republican Rep. Bryan Avila, who carried the 2020 version.

The new legislation, filed ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session, has some similarities to the prior version. The measures would require retail pet stores to obtain a license from the Department of Business and Professional regulation to sell animals.

The legislation also requires those stores to only acquire animals from qualified breeders, animal rescues, animal shelters, pet brokers or individuals who are exempt from licensure. That includes individuals who don’t routinely sell animals.

A “qualified breeder” which means those breeders must not have prior violations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding his or her safety practices. And if stores purchase from a pet broker who deals with breeders, the broker must also ensure those breeders who are qualified.

Like the 2020 version, the new measure states pet holdings must be kept between 67 and 78 degrees and requires two daily 30-minute exercise blocks for those animals. The retail pet stores must also keep documents on hand regarding breeder information, available upon request from a prospective buyer.

The 2022 bills would require licensed vets to visit the shops at least twice a week for inspections, as opposed to three times a week under the 2020 bill.

The 2020 edition explicitly preempted local governments from acting in this sphere. But that changes with these new bills. The measures would explicitly allow local municipalities to regulate, but not prohibit, “the operation of retail pet stores or the breeding, purchase, or sale of household pets, provided the ordinances or regulations are consistent and not in conflict with the rules” set up under this new proposed legislation.

That clause would not apply to localities which ban retail pet stores prior to June 1, 2021 or any moratorium passed on additional stores which is approved before July 1, 2022.

Petland has already staffed up on lobbyists ahead of the 2022 Session, which begins in January.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]



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