Broward's oldest city has joined the pack of municipalities across the county enacting laws aimed at curbing the puppy mill trade.
Under the rules approved Tuesday, Dania Beach pet shops can only sell cats and dogs from shelters, rescue groups and humane societies.
More than 45 cities across the nation have already passed similar laws, including eight in Broward: Hallandale Beach, Margate, Coconut Creek, North Lauderdale, Wilton Manors, Sunrise, Pompano Beach and Parkland.
"People need to know that when they buy puppies from pet stores, they are unknowingly buying dogs from a puppy mill," Mayor Walter Duke said. "These poor dogs often spend their entire lives in tiny dirty cages. That's something we want to address."
City Attorney Tom Ansbro told commissioners that Sunrise and Phoenix were served with lawsuits after passing similar laws. Both cities are home to at least one pet shop.
Because Dania Beach currently has no puppy stores, it likely won't face a lawsuit, Ansbro said.
Michele Lazarow, a Hallandale Beach commissioner championing the cause, praised Dania for having the courage to take on puppy mills and protect unsuspecting consumers from buying sick puppies and kittens.
"We are grateful and pleased for your support," she said. "Dania Beach is going to join the growing list of cities across this country and be recognized for your kindness and compassion."
Duke said he and his wife adopted their own rescue dog five years ago after finding a Shiba Inu wandering near the mangroves.
The couple took him to the Humane Society of Broward County to see if anyone might come to claim him. Five days later, he went home with the Dukes.
Duke said some people might object to the new rules.
"And they have that right," Duke said. "But we feel this is best for our community."
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