Martin County commission to revisit pet store ban

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 7:35 PM EDT
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In just months it will be illegal to sell dogs, cats, or rabbits in Martin County but the county commission could consider changing the rules.

Owners of the two pet stores in Martin County selling animals feel this is their last chance to save their businesses.

When the vote to ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in Martin County passed back in June. Jill Scott said she knew nothing about the hearing.

“The best way to describe it is we feel the air got sucked out of our lungs,” said Scott, who owns the Noble Paw in Stuart.

The county said it advertised the meeting in the paper and on its website--two places Scott said she doesn’t regularly check.

The ban would force Scott to change her business model without having any say.

“We want to speak up for ourselves, we want to defend our reputation and who we are as people,” she said.

Under the ban, pet stores would be allowed to keep selling retail products but not animals.

Scott said that could affect her ability to afford her 5-year lease.

“If this goes away, I’m ruined,” she said.

Tuesday, the county will take up the issue again at the request of commissioner Stacy Hetherington.

Commissioners will be able to make three decisions: Keep the ban as is set to go into place in December, extend the time businesses must stop selling animals to next June or completely revisit the ban, which could be reversing it or allowing existing businesses to be grandfathered in.

Scott supports strict regulations around her industry.

“We would like to ask them to take this ordinance and throw it away and include us in the redrafting of one that we feel could really make a difference,” she said.

However, animal activist and rescue groups, including the Humane Society of The United States, are urging the county to make no changes to the ban.

And other Martin County residents are emailing county leaders to uphold it.

Scott said despite how people feel about her business she said any small business should have input in a decision that affects them.

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