WEST MELBOURNE, Fla. – Brevard County Animal Services and Code Enforcement are investigating a pet store in West Melbourne after photos spread on social media showing several of its dogs outside laying on concrete.
"This makes me sick"! Hannah Martin, who goes by Hannah Jean on Facebook, said in the post. "It is 90 degrees outside, and this is a puppy store in West Melbourne off 192. Share so the world can see."
The photos were posted Monday afternoon and had been shared more than 3,300 on Facebook by noon Wednesday, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
"I didn't know Facebook had the power to bring seven sheriffs to my front door," said Greg Doherty, owner of Pets Around the World in the 3200 block of West New Haven Avenue.
Animal Services responded to the complaints Tuesday and cited Doherty for not having enough water for the number of dogs, said Brevard County Sheriff's spokesman Tod Goodyear. That carries a $300 fine, he said.
Animal Services and Code Enforcement were planning to return to the store Wednesday, Goodyear said. The water citation was the only thing officials found wrong Tuesday.
"The dogs were in good condition, and they had all the paperwork for them," Goodyear said. "We still want to make sure they aren't violating any ordinances."
Doherty said he will contest the fine. At the time of the animal services visit, he said there were three wide water buckets in the patio area and they each had at least an inch of water in them. Doherty said the county ordinance does not specify how much water needs to be available per dog.
The pet shop currently has 30 dogs there, Doherty said. The dogs are let outside in the patio area, where there's a dog house and a shaded structure.
"We don't want to keep the dogs inside all day," said co-owner Marsha Michael.
Doherty said the shop has been in business 30 years and has been at its West Melbourne location for six years.