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The Pinellas Board of County Commissioners passed some updates to the county’s laws regarding pet stores that sell dogs and cats.

A one-year moratorium in Pinellas County on expansion of retail stores was passed in December 2021 in response to animal advocates. The county then did research on the pet sales industry. After going over the results, these new regulations were approved by the county.

The new, stricter rules include not allowing any new pet stores that sell dogs or cats. Existing stores will be grandfathered in. “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 release from the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners, the new ordinance covers the county, though local cities and towns may create stricter laws. Several cities already have bans on sales of commercially bred pets. Those include St. Petersburg, Safety Harbor and Dunedin. Largo already had a ban in place on new stores.

The new rules allow existing pet stores to continue to operate, but may not expand their floor space for pet sales. They may also move to new locations, but only if they reduce the number of kennels on their sales floor. No sales from parking lots or flea markets are allowed. Also, all of for each puppy sold, the commercial pet retail stores must submit certification to Pinellas County Animal Services.

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