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PINELLAS COUNTY - Board of Commissioners

When The New Barker broke the news in October about SPCA Tampa Bay's partnership with both a puppy mill & a puppy retailer local and national animal advocates began to express their extreme opposition to the partnerships.

It is, after all, the antithesis of animal welfare & rescue work.

Now that the smoke has cleared, it's time to focus.

This is bigger than their current CEO and board - this is about data, facts & policy.

Facts are as follows -

In June, 2022 Pinellas County Board of Commissioners voted to grandfather in the 6 existing pet stores that sell puppies when voting on an ordinance to ban any new businesses to sell puppies in Pinellas County

  • These stores source their inventory (aka the animals) from Commercial Breeding Enterprises (aka puppy mills) that are notorious for unethical treatment of animals.
  • Without these stores retailing the animals, SPCA TB would not be able to partner & profit on the backs of the animals.
  • These stores use predatory lending practices to lure people in to financing a dog.
  • Pinellas County Board of Commissioners have the power to phase out these existing stores.

Pinellas County Animal Services & SPCA TB entered into an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) in 2015 that solidified their agreement that PCAS would take in county strays & SPCA TB would take in county citizen owner surrenders.

  • their partnership with Pinellas County Animal Services makes them the "go to" shelter for owner surrenders for county citizens.
  • On November 13, 2023 at 9:30am I called to confirm that they do in fact refer citizens to SPCA TB for surrenders.
  • according to SPCA TB annual state report for 2022, they euthanized 92% of owner surrendered dogs and labeled them "Owner Requested Euth"
  •  they're able to label them this way with the signed form that owners must sign in order to surrender their dog.
  • the inherent goodness of animal welfare in the letters SPCA is biased and untrue at SPCA Tampa Bay
  • Pinellas County Commissioners have an inherent duty to protect their citizens and their animals; partnering with SPCA TB for county citizen owner surrenders
  • CLICK HERE to see SPCA TB reports and navigate to ANIMAL STATISTICS

Technically, this MOU expired in 2020, but yet is still in effect.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

Here are the bullet points of actionable steps that can be done in regards to opening conversation with the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners.
This is best done in your own words regarding these topics, but if words aren't coming easily, feel free to copy and paste.
Call and/or email the Pinellas County Commissioners and ask them to -
  1. Revisit the ordinance to ban the retail sale of puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats in retail stores. Please reconsider removing the grandfather clause that protects the six existing pet stores that sell puppy mill sourced puppies.
  2. Consider the following:
  • Relative to the contract Pinellas County Animal Services has with the SPCA Tampa Bay, the County has the right, in fact a duty, to protect the dogs entrusted to to the care of its municipal shelter.
  • The BOCC has a duty to protect its constituents and the community from the predatory lending practices used by the pet stores selling the puppy mill sourced puppies.
  • This pilot program, in error, legitimizes the sale of puppy mill puppies at retail pet stores, essentially supporting the inhumane industry. We all know Floridians and especially Pinellas County residents do not support animal cruelty and the mass breeding of puppies for profit without regard for their well-being. About a year after passing their original pet retail sales ordinance, Hillsborough County revisited their ordinance and passed a strong policy phasing out the retail sale of dogs and cats.
"Our humanity and our moral progress are rightly judged by the way we treat our animals. After the SPCA Tampa Bay announced its partnership with two entities who have known ties to CBEs (Commercial Breeding Enterprises), CEOs and directors of local and regional shelters spoke out against it.
National animal advocacy agencies spoke out against it. It seems that the SPCA Tampa Bay’s CEO and board of directors have lost the respect of their peers. The country is watching what Pinellas County will do next to protect its constituents, the community and the animals in its charge.
Especially while Florida animal shelters and rescues are overflowing with deserving pets for adoption.
Will you continue supporting an industry that exploits animals for profit?
Or will you do the right thing, listen to your constituents, and stand with the 80+ other Florida municipalities that have phased out the retail sale of puppies in stores?"

CLICK HERE for the list of current Pinellas County Commissioners - click photos for contact info.

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