The Pinellas County Board of Commissioners passed updates to county laws regarding pet stores that sell dogs and cats.
A one-year moratorium in Pinellas County on retail store expansion was passed in December 2021 in response to animal advocates. The county then researched the pet selling industry. After reviewing the results, these new regulations were approved by the county.
The new stricter rules include banning new pet stores that sell dogs or cats. Existing stores will be grandfathered. “Hobby breeders who produce no more than two litters or 20 dogs or cats per year” are not affected by these changes.
According to a statement from the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners, the new ordinance covers the county, although local cities and towns can create stricter laws. Several cities have already banned the sale of commercially bred pets. These include St. Petersburg, Safety Harbor and Dunedin. Largo had already banned new stores.
The new rules allow existing pet stores to continue operating, but cannot expand their floor space for pet sales. They can also move to new locations, but only if they reduce the number of kennels on their sales floor. No sales in parking lots or flea markets are permitted. Additionally, for every puppy sold, commercial pet stores must submit certification to Pinellas County Animal Services.