The battle over pet businesses is heating up in the Florida legislature.
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA (AP) – The battle over pet stores is heating up in the state Capitol, with two rival legislation on the table, one of which is a Trojan horse, according to the Humane Society.
If you're thinking of getting a cat or dog for a loved one for Christmas, the Humane Society suggests adopting or buying from a reputable breeder.
It does not advocate purchasing from a pet store.
"Because we know that puppies and kittens for sale at retail stores come from puppy mills," Kate MacFall, the Humane Society's Florida director, explained.
A bill that would outright outlaw the selling of cats and dogs in retail pet stores is the group's top legislative priority in the 2017 session, according to MacFall.
"This problem is getting increasingly popular and discussed," MacFall remarked.
But, according to MacFall, they're up against a Senate bill that touts itself as safeguarding animal welfare.
"It's cleverly camouflaged as an animal welfare bill, but it accomplishes the exact opposite," MacFall added.
According to MacFall, the devil is in the details.
The law includes a preemption clause that would override local ordinances against the establishment of retail pet stores.
"It would repeal two strong regulations passed this summer in Florida, and then ban any future legislation limiting the retail sale of dogs and cats," MacFall explained.
The preemption law has been proposed before, but it has always been defeated by proponents.
This year is expected to be no different.
"The pet store preemption bills simply ensure that the puppy mill to pet store pipeline remains intact, and they're destructive to both animals and consumers," MacFall explained.
Neither bill has a House or Senate sponsor, but MacFall said she expects a senator to support the pet store ban in the coming weeks.
The pet store ban legislation, according to MacFall, would not bar consumers from buying cats and dogs from breeders.