Bay Harbor Islands council members have given final approval to an ordinance banning the sale of dogs and cats in the town.
The ordinance, which was advocated by Council Member Kelly Reid, is a part of a nationwide campaign against puppy mills, or businesses that breed large numbers of dogs and sell them to commercial pet shops.
“This prevents consumer fraud. We have too many dogs and cats in shelters and we want to promote adoption,” Reid said. “If people still want pure-bred animals they can still get them directly from breeders to ensure that their pet was not bred in a puppy mill and bred under the right circumstances.”
An earlier draft of the ordinance banned the sale of all live animals, but the final version covers only dogs and cats. The change came after several council members objected to the broader language of the earlier draft.
“I’m pro business,” said council member Isaac Salver. “We have such a small business district and I don’t see how this would benefit us.”
Council member Solange Rousellot also disagreed with the original ordinance.
“The basis of this country is freedom, and some people should be able to have the option to choose,” she said.
Fifty other municipalities, including Wellington, Aventura, Margate, Hallandale Beach, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, North Bay Village and Surfside have passed similar laws.
Reid says she went door-to-door on Kane Concourse to check with business owners to see how they would be affected and to seek their opinions on the ordinance.
“For the most part, everyone I spoke to agrees with the ordinance,” Reid said.
In the end, the council unanimously approved the revised ordinance.