Lake County bans retail sales of dogs, cats


Lake County commissioners approved a measure Tuesday that prohibits retail sales of dogs and cats.

In a 4-1 vote, the board voted to ban people from selling, trading or auctioning dogs and cats in stores, yard sales or flea markets. A private breeder may sell an individual dog or cat to a person, but they must provide a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian to the new owner and must maintain copies of this certificate for up to three years.

The new regulations don't apply to the Lake County animal shelter or animal rescue organizations at stores like PetSmart that partner with local groups to feature homeless animals available for adoption. People who violate the ordinance may be fined $500.

Animal advocates across Central Florida have called for an end to retail sales of dogs and cats because, they argue, it helps fuel puppy mills. Seminole County commissioners also voted recently to ban retail pet sales.

The lone vote against the ordinance in Lake County came from Commissioner Josh Blake, who explained that he was "as opposed to puppy mills as anybody," but that the actions of a few "bad actors" doesn't mean the county should prohibit sales.

"If you have a puppy mill issue, there's things you can do to target the puppy mills without blanket prohibition on the retail sales of a lawful product," he said.

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