The Nightmare that is Palm Beach County, FL’s “Ban”

To call it a ban, or not to call it a ban, that is the question which doesn’t have a simple answer.

No new stores can open in Palm Beach County. It’s a ban!

Any city in Palm Beach County can opt out. It’s not a ban!

All 8 puppy stores in the county can continue operating ad infinitum. Definitely not a ban!

Not only that, they can relocate their business if they want. Hardly a ban!

Not only that, they can SELL THEIR BUSINESS IF THEY WANT. What kind of a ban is that?

Palm Beach County Logo

Stores are under some strong restrictions, but you all know the drill: really hard to implement. In 2017 one of the stores (contemporary article says they are down to 7 stores) had to go before a judge for a cleanliness violation. $200 fine. That’s it.

Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners

This isn’t even a ban with strong restrictions, this is a ban of new stores, but the old ones can keep right on selling the offspring of tortured, sickly, feral, malnourished, uncared for, unsocialized, dogs who are serving life sentences in a rotting jailhouses for the crime of having been born a dog.

So we’re going to put Palm Beach County, Florida’s ordinance in its own category: Old Stores Welcome, New Stores Not.

Bottom line: someone could buy a store, move its location and still be welcome in Palm Beach County with arms wide open until the end of time.

Arrrgh!

Reading = Weeping

[ §(b) 13. ]

County Commissioners

Mount Pleasant, 2nd ban in NY, 3/2016, strengthens ban

Mamaroneck, New York, made history in February 2016 when the town council passed the first ban on the retail sales of dogs and cats in the state of New York:

The Village of Mamaroneck becomes the first municipality in New York to pass a ban on commercially-bred animals within its borders.

The usual pushback was attendant with the ban with one council member frightened of litigation from stores or even from the state which made it difficult for local jurisdictions to ban stores in 2000.

A 2000 state law that created the state licensing and inspection program for pet dealers prohibited municipal oversight of pet stores and home-based breeders. The state Agriculture and Markets Department had few inspectors and in the past five years levied penalties only in about 50 of 800 failed pet dealer inspections, [senior state director of ASPCA government relations for the Northeast, Bill] Ketzer said. “Local governments were kind of growing increasingly frustrated with their inability to protect themselves locally.”

The previous law didn’t cover wholesale pet sales from large-scale breeding facilities, also known as puppy mills, which is as important if not more so than regulating local pet stores, Ketzer said.

Westchester lawmakers want to combat ‘puppy mills’

But the rest of the council was having none of it, with the mayor stating,

When you’re a responsible elected official, you can’t be intimidated by what could happen.  You can’t govern scared. I have full confidence that this law will stand any appeal.

Mayor Norm Rosenblum

The ban was not challenged.

Later that year, New York Attorney General’s Office sent a letter to the state’s municipalities and county governments urging them to pass pet dealer/puppy mill regulations within their jurisdictions. Article.

Just one month later, in March 2016, Mount Pleasant, New York, passed a ban.

But recently, the Mount Pleasant town council wanted to amend their law by removing shelter and rescue language.

The ordinance when passed in 2016 read:

§ 84-1 Prohibition on sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell any live dog or cat in any pet store, retail business or other commercial establishment located in the Town of Mount Pleasant, unless the dog or cat was obtained from an animal shelter or a humane society located in the County of Westchester, or a nonprofit rescue and humane organization registered with the New York State Department of Agriculture.

B. For purposes of this section, a rescue and humane organization is defined as a New York State nonprofit corporation that is exempt from taxation under Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3), participates in early age spay/neuter of animals, complies with state and local laws regarding the humane treatment of animals, and whose mission and practice is, in whole or in significant part, the rescue and placement of dogs and/or cats.

Municipal code

As of September 2019, the ordinance reads:

§ 84-1 Prohibition on sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell any live dog or cat in any pet store, retail business or other commercial establishment located in the Town of Mount Pleasant.

Ordinance

Both our Google Map entry for Mount Pleasant and the Jurisdictions roster have been updated.

Why we dropped Fountain, CO

We’ve long been skeptical of a ban in Fountain, Colorado.

It was easy to believe the small town of 25k simply hadn’t updated their online municipal code which doesn’t mention the ordinance, though it was believed to have passed in 9/2011. One wonders how law and order is implemented if there is no code against which to prove an infraction.

There is a 2011 article mentioning the passage in passing, and an unsigned copy of an ordinance online at a non-governmental site.

But the most telling tell-tale: there has been at least one store in Fountain, Colorado, Valley Pets, which has been operating uninterrupted for 37 years to date, according to their YP and BBB pages.


Valley pups might have recently closed. Their Facebook page hasn’t been updated since August 19, 2019. Their phone number is still active, but in 10 calls placed to (719) 390-4583, we only ever got a “mailbox full” recording.

Most recent post on Valley Pets FB page from 8/19/2019.

Nonetheless, it appears to have operated unhindered for the 8 years since the ban purportedly was passed.

And there’s this Denver Post article.

Berthoud first in Colorado to ban sale of puppy mill dogs

Presumably the journalists at the state’s largest newspaper did their journalistic duty and got the answer from Fountain when we could not. Article

Doesn’t sound to us that the ordinance made it through the 2nd reading. We’ve tried calling the Fountain Colorado Municipal Clerk and have left a dozen messages over the years, none being returned. Like we said, small town of 25,000….

This deletion modified our Bans By Year chart which looked like this before the change:

puppymillfree.us Bans By Year

Live, the Bans By Year chart looks like this.

Landslide of Statewide Bans if OR, CO, WI, MA, PA, ME, & NY Pass Pending Bills

This is an ongoing post to be updated through the months…

7 States with statewide bans on the table.

Update: 1/2020

1 down! 6 States with statewide bans on the table.

Maine Governor Janet T. Mills moved the 6/2019 legislation to law on 1/12/2020. Details under the Maine section below.

Massachusetts

House bill 800: An Act banning the retail sale of cats and dogs in pet shops

Senate bill 175: An Act banning the retail sale of cats and dogs in pet shops

New York

At a time where there are healthy and loving pets waiting to be adopted from animal shelters statewide, there is simply no reason to allow the sale of puppy mill animals. Puppy mill animals are mistreated from birth, and often develop behavioral or physical health problems later in life despite their high price tags. This bill would encourage the adoption of dogs, cats and rabbits and ensure that animals no longer have to face the cruelty, physical and psychological abuse to which the puppy mill supply chain subjects animals.

Assembly bill status New York

Oregon

Prohibits retail pet store from selling or offering to sell dog other than dog acquired from animal shelter, humane society, dog control district or nonprofit corporation that provides rescue services.

House bill 4045.

Wisconsin

This bill prohibits a pet store from selling dogs and cats beginning on January 1, 2020. A person who violates this prohibition is subject to a civil forfeiture of up to $10,000 for the first offense and up to $25,000 for the second or any subsequent
offense.

Assembly Bill 298

Pennsylvania

An Act amending Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, providing for transfer and sale of animals.

Senate Bill 44

Maine

Maine was the first state to pass a ban on sale of dogs and cats through their legislature, but controversial governor LePage refused to sign the bill. It’s now in the hands of new governor Mills, but it’s not clear if she will sign.

Gov. Janet Mills should sign L.D. 1311. It will effectively impact puppy mills by shrinking the marketplace and drive Maine’s pet market towards more humane sources.

Pet store law would protect animals

A person may not advertise for sale, sell or exchange for value more than one cat or dog under the age of 6 months in a 12-month period unless that person has a valid animal shelter, kennel, or breeding kennel  or pet shop license or a valid vendor’s license issued under this section.

Sec. 11.  7 MRSA § 4153.  Sale prohibited

Colorado

Legislators and the Gubernatorial mansion ally against puppy mills.

“I’m honored to be partnering with First Gentleman Reis to shed light on the abhorrent conditions at puppy mills,” said Rep. Duran, D-Wheat Ridge.“Every dog deserves to live in happiness and safety. Our furry friends demand very little in exchange for unconditional love and attention, and I look forward to taking action to address the inhumane treatment of animals in our state.”

First Gentleman Reis and Representative Duran are exploring legislative proposals to ensure the health and safety of dogs and cats.

On Puppy Mill Awareness Day, Rep. Duran & First Gentleman Reis Draw Attention to the Need to Protect Our Canine Friends. Article.

But after a recent exposé of sick and dying puppies at a store that has had puppy deaths not long after sales dating back to 2002, legislation ending puppy and kitten sales in Colorado now seems to be on a fast track.

Pet Store Ban? Talks Underway After More Than A Decade Of Complaints About Sick Puppies

Others

NEVADA

Other states bringing up the issue so far include Nevada. State Legislature there meets only every two years. Next legislative session, February 2021.

A Bill Draft will be submitted to end the sales of dogs, cats, rabbits in retail stores in the state of Nevada by Senator Julia Ratti.

ARIZONA

Arizona doesn’t have a state ban in the pipe, but there is a provision to end the statewide prohibition of local bans, which would allow the two bands in Phoenix and Tempe, which are still written into their municipal code, to become immediately enforceable. Tucson, Arizona, was on the eve of passing a local ban when the state law took effect. Ending the state prohibition of local bans would see passage of the Tucson ban occur soon thereafter.

…Includes a repeal of the prohibition of local retail store bans. Phoenix and Tempe city ordinances are still on the books, made unenforceable by state law. If 2329 passes with repeal intact, Phoenix and Tempe will not only enforce, but Tucson has been holding a city ordinance in the ready for when they will be able to enforce it.

House Bill 2329

Salinas simply won’t go away

The Deep South of the state of California has been trying to rid itself of multiple store owner David Salinas for six years.

San Diego was the first to throw one of his stores out in 2013.

Then Encinitas and San Marcos in 2015.

Then Oceanside and Carlsbad in 2016.

Solana Beach, Vista and Del Mar passed preventive ordinances to make sure he didn’t come there.

Then the great state of California passed a comprehensive ban of retail sales of dogs, cats and rabbits in October 2017, effective 1/1/19.

But he’s still at it.

Activists have had enough.

National City still has 2 puppy stores open and doing the business of passing on the progeny of tortured, malnourished, sickly, spirit-broken dogs onto unknowing customers for a substantial premium.

Salinas is not going easily into that good night. He surely doesn’t want to let go of his easy money stream so he is hanging on with all his might to the last torn threads surrounding the state’s language loopholes.

But activists are there to virtually tar and feather him every step of the way.

Thank you southern California activists, for leading the way on fighting these stores to the bitter end and showing the rest of the country the steps they might have to take when their states pass a comprehensive retail animal sales ban.

1st of 5 Washington Bans to have a Store

Kitsap County is the first of 5 total bans that includes a retail store. The County’s proximity to Seattle could prod the slow poke into action.

On 7/22/2020, the first ban in Washington that had a store in its jurisdiction will be in effect in Kitsap County. The store owners of 43 years are upset and cite that their puppies sell for $1200. So they must be good? To those that buy a pup for that price when you can get an awesome dog at a shelter for from $25-100, we say:

There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute.

Unknown [wasn’t P.T. Barnum]

This is Washington’s 5th ban including a rabbit sales ban in Gig Harbor. But the significance of a ban with a store, and a very long time one at that, could someday influence slow poke Seattle just across Puget Sound from all 5 current ban jurisdictions.

Kitsap County not far from Seattle in King County Washington.

One has to wonder why the store owners are crying foul. How many dogs do you think they might sell on average per week? Think 5 is reasonable? With as many as 25 per week at Christmas, we’ll call 5 a lowball.

5 x 1200 x 52 x 43 = $13,416,000. Let’s call the lowball estimate vs. the expenses a wash, making this figure pure profit.

Isn’t $13 million enough for a lifetime? Or is this proof positive yet again that store owners and the puppy dealers that transport the dogs from the mills to the stores are drowning in their own filthy greed?