Pinellas BCC updates ordinance governing retail sale of dogs or cats

Rose Burke

Changes promote humane treatment of animals, enhance consumer protections

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on Tuesday passed a series of updates to its animal ordinance that will ban the opening of new retail stores that sell dogs and/or cats while grandfathering in existing stores. The amendments provide for new stricter regulations on commercial pet retail establishments while keeping existing requirements in effect for hobby breeders who produce no more than two litters or 20 dogs or cats per year.

The ordinance is enforceable countywide, but municipalities may have stricter regulations. St. Petersburg, Safety Harbor and Dunedin have full bans on the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats, and Largo already had a ban on new stores. The BCC, responding to pleas from animal advocates, passed a one-year moratorium on the expansion of retail stores last December and asked the County’s Animal Service department to research the industry. The research was presented last week in a Board work session and discussed at length Tuesday, following hours of public comment.

Under the revised ordinance, existing stores that sell dogs and cats cannot expand their floor space for pet sales and may only relocate if they meet multiple requirements, including reducing the number of kennels on their sales floor. The revised ordinance bans the sale of dogs or cats outside of permitted locations such as parking lots or flea markets and requires that commercial pet retail establishments, pet dealers, and hobby breeders submit a point-of-sale certificate to Pinellas County Animal Services for each puppy sold.

In other action Tuesday, the Board:

  • Recognized members of the Clearwater Urban Leadership Coalition and issued a proclamation recognizing June 19 as Juneteenth.
  • Issued a proclamation recognizing the week of June 17 as National Waste and Recycling Workers Week and thanked the men and women who work in the industry.
  • Recognized leaders from Equality Florida and St. Pete Pride and issued a proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month.
  • Received a presentation from Pinellas County Emergency Management Department about the County’s preparedness for the 2022 hurricane season.

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