In a unanimous vote on Tuesday night, Lake Worth, Florida, became the first city on the East Coast to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. (Two California cities—South Lake Tahoe and West Hollywood—have enacted similar laws.)
Lake Worth's new law only allows the sale of dogs and cats on the same property where they were bred, which effectively prohibits pet shops from selling animals, because such stores normally obtain puppies from brokers, who in turn obtain them from puppy mills, which are often located hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
"My goal is to stop the importation of these animals from puppy mills that are inhumane and cruel," said County Commissioner Shelley Vana.
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Which brings us to our weekly reminder to never, ever purchase an animal from a pet store. I know, I know, they're so cute, pitiful, etc. But repeat after me: You are not "rescuing" them—you are paying puppy mills to breed another litter. Without paying customers, puppy mills would go out of business. It's that simple. Meanwhile, by adopting from your local animal shelter instead, you can help keep it in the business of rescuing, spaying, neutering, and placing homeless animals. The shelter may be a little farther out of the way than the local strip mall, but it's worth the trip.
Written by Alisa Mullins