ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) – It’s official. In one year’s time, Orange County pet shops must stop selling dogs, cats, and rabbits.
It’s a proposal that county commissioners took up for a vote on Tuesday.
It’s gotten support among animal advocates, but it’s making local business owners fearful about the future.
On Tuesday night, Orange County commissioners voted to ban the sale of all dogs, cats and rabbits from any pet store in the county.
“This is a great day for animals in Orange County and a great day for animals in Florida,” said Kate Macfall, of the Humane Society of the United States.
For months, animal rights advocates pushed the commission to ban the sale of pets at stores, saying it promoted unethical businesses like puppy mills.
“Anyone who cares about the health and wellness of these puppies and kittens was absolutely in support of the ordinance passing,” veterinarian Sy Woon said.
But owners of the eight stores that will be impacted by this new ordinance say they always took good care of the animals in their facilities, and are worried they could end up losing their entire business because of this new rule.
“I don’t know what the future holds, to be honest with you. I think it’s just at this point we are going to have to recover, get our employees together and have a long talk,” said Ben Hoofnagle, owner of Petland Waterford Lakes.
The vote itself was not unanimous and ended up being very close.
People on both sides of the issue were not surprised by that.
Orange County now joins several other Central Florida counties that already had a similar ban.
The way this ordinance is written, says that stores will still have one year to continue to sell cats and dogs and rabbits. After that, it’s banned.