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Aventura commission takes stand on ‘puppy mills’


Special to the Miami Herald

Seeking to prevent the possibility of “puppy mill” sales, the city of Aventura unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday at a commission meeting banning the sale of dogs and cats at retail shops.

The ordinance doesn’t ban pet-supply stores, which can sell products and services for dogs and cats, Mayor Susan Gottlieb said. Rescue shelters would be allowed to conduct adoptions in the stores. Aventura currently does not have any stores that sell dogs and cats.

Commissioner Enbar Cohen, who proposed the ordinance, said the city has received strong feedback from residents emailing their support.

“It sends a message … that we care about the health and welfare of animals,” Cohen said.

Officials from local communities and organizations were also at the meeting to lend their support. Don Anthony, communications director of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, said at the meeting that the ordinance protected dogs and cats and unwitting purchasers.

“Puppy mills are overcrowded,” said Anthony, adding that the animals are kept in stacked cages and that disease runs rampant. “Dogs are bred continuously until they are spent, and then they are killed. Animals suffer immense cruelty and lead miserable lives.”

Several communities such as Wellington, Lauderdale Lakes and Coconut Creek have passed similar ordinances, Anthony said.

Hallandale Beach Commissioner Michele Lazarow said she supported a similar ordinance in Hallandale Beach that passed in 2011. She then decided to run for commissioner in 2012. She has supported similar legislation in other municipalities, calling it a “feel-good” ordinance for residents and puppies.

“The only ones who don’t feel good are those who profit from a cruel and inhumane industry,” Lazarow said.

In other news, the council:

• Approved a resolution to extend the city’s Green Market to May 31. Vendors have been selling fresh fruits and vegetables in Founders Park South, 3105 NE 190th Street, since Dec. 15. The Green Market has been well received in the community with 1,100-1,500 people visiting every Sunday, Aventura city manager Eric Soroka said.

 Approved a resolution for the commission of a piece of art costing less than $30,000 to be selected in an open competition that would be placed in the government or arts and cultural centers. Three candidates were appointed to the city’s Arts in Public Places advisory board, which would head the search.

• Approved two resolutions allowing beer, wine and champagne to be sold and served at two kiosks — Caviar & More and Piacere News Café — in Aventura Mall. Since 2008, Caviar & More, located on the ground floor near Sears, was only allowed to serve one four-ounce glass and sealed bottles to customers at its bar. The approved resolutions do not cap the amount of alcohol that can be served or sold and allow customers to be served alcohol in the seating areas of the kiosks. Piacere News Café, located on the ground floor outside Bloomingdale’s, previously did not have a liquor license.

• Approving a mixed-use zoning change for a 7.4-acre vacant lot at NE 207th Street and NE 30th Avenue. Developers are seeking to build a hotel, office building and a 135-unit residence at the location, which was formerly zoned for business use only.

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