St. Petersburg considers ban on retail pet stores

- St. Petersburg City Council will consider at its next meeting a proposal by Mayor Rick Kriseman that would ban retail pet stores in the city.

The proposed ordinance would prevent businesses from selling pets and limit breeders to selling them only from their homes. The ban does not include shelters or rescue organizations.

"We currently do not have any pet stores in the city selling dogs and cats, but that may change tomorrow if we don't do this ordinance," said Kevin King, the mayor's Chief of Staff.

King told FOX 13 News, Kriseman, who also fosters guide dogs, hopes the regulations keep out inhumane breeders and encourage people to adopt from shelters.

"They mayor is a big dog-lover, so it was really an attempt for him to say, 'hey St. Pete, we like our pets. We want them to be adopted if they're at shelters and we don't want a lot of breeding happening here," King said. "It kind of tells who we are [as a city]. And, a little bit, it really does encourages people if they can't find a pet store to buy a dog or a cat, they're going to go to a shelter."

Martha Boden, CEO of the SPCA of Tampa Bay, said she loves the idea because there are so many animals in shelters, in need of good homes, in Pinellas County.

"SPCA Tampa Bay and Pinellas County Animal Services - just those two shelters alone - are taking in somewhere between 40 and 60 new animals everyday," she said. "I think anytime a community can take a look at where animals are coming from and how we can do anything possible to make sure they get lifetime homes, it's a good idea."

Council members will discuss the ordinance July 14 and could vote on it on July 21. If the proposal passes, St. Pete would join more than 40 other communities in Florida that have also passed similar ordinances.

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