Hillsborough to think about regulating rabbit gross sales | Information

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TAMPA — A ban on retail gross sales of pet rabbits might be hopping into Hillsborough County.

Hillsborough County commissioners agreed unanimously Sept. 21 with Commissioner Pat Kemp to acquire comparable ordinances from different Florida locales “that we are able to use to manage rabbit gross sales.”

New guidelines might embody banning the retail sale of rabbits except the animals are sterilized and are available from a shelter or rescue group. That will observe the county ordinance governing retail gross sales of dogs and cats. A proposed ordinance additionally might include an exclusion for professional agricultural functions.

The fee sentiment got here after 4 individuals, talking through the public remark portion of the assembly, requested for the ban. Later, knowledge from the county’s Pet Useful resource Heart indicated an earlier public schooling marketing campaign had not diminished the variety of rabbits surrendered to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay.

The county additionally shared that 69% of outlets reported gross sales of rabbits equal to or exceeding their 2021 numbers.

“It seems that instructional consciousness program assisted, however didn’t resolve the issue,” mentioned commissioner chairperson Kimberly Overman.

The county schooling marketing campaign, geared toward stores, tried to discourage prospects from making impulse buys of rabbits through the Easter season. Nonetheless, the Humane Society took in 155 rabbits through the first six months of this yr and turned away 54 extra. It expects to soak up 300 rabbits this yr, up from 264 in 2021.

Taking surrenders and fostering the animals falls to nonprofits or volunteers as a result of government-run shelters within the Tampa Bay space don’t settle for rabbits.

The dilemma is purchaser’s regret that generally accompanies pet rabbit purchases. The lovable, fuzzy fur balls develop into animals requiring vital cleansing due to their waste output. Additionally they have an urge for food for practically something chewable together with rubber, plastics, clothes, wooden and electrical wires.

It results in house owners surrendering animals to shelters or just releasing them outside.

A bunch of grassroots animal advocates have been asking the county to ban retail gross sales of rabbits — at the very least close to the Easter vacation season — since final yr. The county, nonetheless, opted for a public schooling marketing campaign as a substitute.

However commissioners mentioned they’re prepared to think about stronger measures.

“So long as it doesn’t intrude with agriculture manufacturing in our neighborhood, I believe it could be clever to direct the prohibition of retail pet manufacturing,” mentioned Overman.

“I believe that is the suitable path,” agreed Commissioner Ken Hagan who beforehand advocated for laws on retail gross sales of dogs and cats.

Pasco County authorized guidelines governing rabbit gross sales earlier this yr. DeSoto and Orange counties and the town of Key West are among the many different jurisdictions prohibiting retail gross sales of rabbits

 

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