What the retail sale of cats and dogs ban means for Cape Coral

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The City of Cape Coral voted Monday to ban the retail sale of cats and dogs. One pet shop says this is just the beginning.

Shane Reinhardt is back to business as usual but exhausted he said after nearly a year-long fight against a ban on the sale of cats and dogs in Cape Coral.

“It’s one of those things that it’s gone on and it’s been drug out for so long,” Reinhardt said, “that I’m glad that we reached a little bit of a resolution.”

That pet sale passed unanimously on Monday, but with a twist. Reinhardt’s store, Patriots Pets, is the only store in Cape Coral that sells dogs. Council agreed to let them keep doing that.

“It wasn’t exactly what we were hoping,” Reinhardt said. “But it did turn out to be kind of a good middle ground with the amended version of the ordinance.”

Animal lovers, like Liz McCauley, backed the ban on cat and dog sales. She is the executive director of Cape Coral’s Animal Shelter, which is set to open in November.

“We wanted a ban on retail sales in Cape Coral,” McCauley said. “Mostly to prevent some of the big organizations that ship puppy mill dogs into the Cape from coming into our area.”

Puppy Mills or commercial dog breeding facilities are widely criticized by groups like the Humane Society, which calls them inhumane.

The groups estimate there are 10,000 puppy mills in the United States. However, with the new ban, Cape Coral is jumping on the train to bring a stop to them.

“This is legislation that’s getting passed all over the country, especially here in Florida,” McCauley said. “We were the 69th municipality or county to pass such an ordinance. We feel it’s important because there are so many unwanted animals in shelters already.”

McCauley hopes more cities and states across the country will join in. But pet owners like Reinhardt, who said he does not sell dogs from puppy mills, wonder what is next.

The ordinance does not block you from getting a dog or a cat from a reputable breeder. Any pet store caught not following the ban will be hit with a $250 fine. That then increases to $500 for every dog or cat sold.

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