Ordinance banning 'puppy mill' dogs passes Hillsborough Co. Commission

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An ordinance passed Wednesday in Hillsborough County requires all new pet stores to sell dogs only from rescue groups or animal shelters.

The restrictions aim to cut down on dogs from puppy mills making their way to Hillsborough County.

The ordinance passed unanimously, after Commissioner Victor Crist proposed existing pet stores be exempted from the restriction. Those stores will need to follow a set of new rules that ensures they are selling puppies from USDA-licensed breeders.

Some of the requirements include mandatory record keeping on which breeders dogs come from, visible efforts to inform customers about adopting rescue pets and working with breeders which have not had recent violations stemming from the way they care for puppies.

Before the ordinance passed, animal activists and pet store advocates clashed over whether or not the county's three existing stores should be subject to the rescue-only rule.

A spokeswoman for All About Puppies, a Hillsborough pet store chain, says the vote went the way the store wanted.

"It went the way we wanted. There's a lot of regulations but it's pretty much exactly what we wanted yea," said Allie Julian, with All About Puppies.

Failure to follow the ordinance could result in the county shutting down any new or existing pet stores.

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