Below is a letter from Ryan Goessel to the Board of County Commissioners. He is one of the Pet Store Owners affected.
Martin County, Florida
Subject: Pending Impacts due to the Adoption of Ordinance No. 1181
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am a resident of Martin County and a small business owner in the community. I own Wags About You, the pet boutique in the downtown Publix shopping center. I write to you today in concern of the future of my business, the community, and my personal financial well being when banning the existence of well-kept businesses like mine with Ordinance No. 1181.
The adoption of this Ordinance will directly impact my business and others in our community. It will also impact me personally as my business, like many small businesses in our community, has a personally guaranteed five-year lease and with a decision to adopt the ordinance will force me into bankruptcy. As a resident and member of the community I request that you consider the impacts that the adoption of the ordinance will have on me personally.
During Martin County’s ordinance reading, it was said my store is a health and safety violation to the community. I would like to explain how this statement is not only incorrect but also how my store supports other business in our community. Prior to opening my business, I worked diligently to ensure I would have adequate processes and local resources in place to ensure the safety of the community and animals. Dr. Wayne Diamond, Owner of Boulevard Animal Hospital and former Treasure Coast humane society veterinarian is a resource to my business to ensure that every animal brought into my store and sold are well cared for. Dr. Diamond comes to my business on a weekly basis to provide a physical exam to each pet, ensures that they are vaccinated and have no signs of illnesses before issuing a Florida State Health Certificate. Dr. Diamond has written a letter of support for my business and is willing to join us for a meeting or phone conversation if you have any questions for him.
I understand and support the need for adoption from our shelters and rescue groups but because of so many unknowns and uncertainties, rescue is not an option for some families. For instance, some have young children, some suffer from allergies, and some just have a specific need or a breed that a rescue can’t provide. Adopt or Shop should be a decision each community member is able to make for themselves. The community has accepted my store and are grateful to be able to buy and support a local business offering healthy, happy, and guaranteed pets. Adopting this pet ban will force the community to look for pets outside of our community and potentially have them purchase unhealthy pets with no health guarantees from poor quality breeders who aren’t licensed and bring them into our community. This would then become a real health concern.
Lastly, during the ordinance reading it was mentioned that other counties in our surrounding area have passed similar ordinances banning the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits but with far less restrictions. It is important to know that majority of the counties mentioned did not shut down any stores when implementing their pet ban. The bellow bullets provide a few facts about those community’s adoption of similar ordinances:
1. Palm Beach County: Ordinance passed- no more stores allowed to open but existing stores can continue to operate. Existing stores to be randomly inspected.
2. Pinellas: Ordinance passed- no more stores allowed to open but existing stores can continue to operate. Existing stores to be randomly inspected.
3. Pasco: Ordinance passed- no more stores allowed to open but existing stores can continue to operate. Existing stores to be randomly inspected.
4.. Osceola: Ordinance passed- no more stores allowed to open but existing stores can continue to operate. Existing stores to be randomly inspected.
5. Brevard: Ordinance passed restricting where pets are sourced but no stores shut down
6. Indian River: Ordinance passed, no existing stores to shut down
7. St. Lucie: Ordinance passed, no existing stores to shut down
These are just a few places in the State of Florida where no businesses were shut down in the process of adopting a retail pet ban.
I have been blessed to help many families add new pets to their homes and I welcome you to visit my business to see firsthand how well maintained and clean my business operates. I ask that you reconsider Martin County’s Ordinance No. 1181 and you consider the impacts it will have on our community, my business, and me personally.