After Wednesday night's dramatic meeting about puppy stores in Hallandale Beach, we caught up with Michele Lazarow, who has been the strongest voice behind getting a puppy-store ban passed in that small city.
Lazarow -- who says she doesn't want to call herself an "activist" because it reminds people of PETA -- is also running for a seat on the City Commission this year.
She provided some context for that video from Wednesday night's meeting and also explained the ordinance, which does in fact prevent pet stores from selling puppies in all but a few limited cases.
Lazarow says that Mayor Joy Cooper's opposition to a ban on puppy stores was destined to provoke the ire of animal-rights people: "As soon as you tell them that a city official is in opposition, they will come. They may not come for other animals, but they will come for puppies."
So the cute little furry guys became a political liability for Cooper, who said she didn't want to restrict legal businesses from operating in Hallandale Beach (she also told Lazarow that she had adopted a dog from a shelter that had gone after her mother and that shelter pets aren't right for everyone).
The way the new city ordinance works is that pet stores, as we reported previously, are unable to sell puppies or kittens without a "certificate of source" listing where they came from. That alone isn't enough, as many puppy-mill dogs have AKC registrations and documentation of parentage. But the ordinance goes a step further, saying that pet stores cannot sell puppies or kittens unless they are bred on the premises or the store is working in conjunction with a rescue organization. Single breeders are also exempt.
As the vote went down, Cooper was the lone dissenting vote. As the video seems to show, she then changed her vote to support the ordinance -- sparing her from going on the record as supporting puppy stores. It clearly wasn't a comfortable position for her to be in. "I think Joy made a big mistake last night," says Lazarow of the mayor's public resistance. Still, Lazarow got the ordinance she wanted passed on first reading. The final vote is April 18.
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Here's the full text of the ordinance.
Hallandale Dog and Cat Ordinance