BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Brevard County Commissioners approved a measure on Tuesday night, which could see a ban on the sale of dogs and cats at retail pet stores.
In a public hearing that lasted for three hours, people expressed their opinions on the proposal, authored by commissioner Bryan Lober.
He said his intent in proposing a new county ordinance is to eliminate family pets coming from puppy mills.
Commissioner said they believe there are only two retail pet stores left in Brevard County.
Bill Jacobson owns Puppies Plus, and he said he feels like commissioners are trying to put him out of business.
"I've been harassed at the store many times -- and my employees -- and even in my home," he told commissioners on Tuesday night.
Lober took issue with where Jacobson acquires his dogs and cats, questioning if the facility he relies on is actually a safe place.
Jacobson conceded the facility was found to be in violation by the United States Department of Agriculture two years ago.
Many at the public hearing said they want animals to be safe.
Others said it's a health issue.
Christine Parent said she bought a dog from a retail store last year, and she has been fighting health issues ever since.
"I'm under the care of a gastroenterologist, I've had colonoscopies," she said. "I have to go for further testing."
A group opposed to the new rules traveled from Tampa to protest the move with T-shirts that read, "My puppy, my choice."
Some local residents were also opposed.
"I am one of your constituents, and as a constituent, I want the choice of where to purchase a puppy from," she said.
With the commissioners' approval, county workers will now begin work on writing the ordinance.
That will be followed by another public hearing and another vote.