Commissioners hear heated debate to ban sales of puppies at pet store

Posted at 7:17 PM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 19:17:45-04

A passionate debate over dogs played out Tuesday in Indian River County.

Animal lovers and activists are pushing to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores in the county obtained from puppy mills. Inside the crowded commission room, commissioners listened to arguments on both sides for nearly four hours.

"It’s become obviously not just a problem with our animals, but humans too and people are getting sick,” said Nicole Capobianco, who is leading the charge for the ban.

Capobianco presented her case to the board after she says she bought a sick dog from Pets Around the World in Vero Beach.

“I’m still actually suffering the aftermath of a puppy mill dog a year later,” she said.
Capobianco is trying to eliminate pet stores from selling puppies obtained from puppy mills. Commissioner Joseph Flescher originally directed staff to set the ordinance in motion.

“It’s not putting anybody out of business, there are other avenues,” said Flesher.
The request comes after our report last month when WPTV told you about Christine Parent. She tested positive for Camplobacter and experienced extreme diarrhea after babysitting her mother’s sick puppy. Parent says the dog was also bought at Pets Around the World.
On Tuesday, the owner of the store, Greg Doherty, defended himself and argued he buys his dogs from breeders and not from puppy mills.

“It’s hard to make an informed decision in these chambers, so I’d like to invite all of you to come out and experience my store for yourself,” Doherty said.

After hours of public comment, the board decided they need more time and need to do more research before moving forward. They plan to hold another hearing and take a vote before the end of the year.