Commissioner Emily Bonilla and Commissioner Nicole Wilson are taking a stance on ending consumer choice by attempting to ban puppy sales in favor of adoption only. That’s right, your choice of where to obtain your next furry family member may be taken away if Commissioners like Bonilla and Wilson get their way. Commissioners Bonilla and Wilson are attempting to correlate the number of adoptable pets in Orange County Shelters to tax payers choosing to adopt their next purpose bred puppy, kitten, or bunny from a retailer or breeder. Both Commissioners in their zeal to take away consumer choice are turning a blind eye to the huge impact that privately run shelters and rescues in the county are having on our County taxpayers, public shelter, and adoptable pets.
The Humane Society of the United States explains on its website that “all shelters are not alike” and “privately owned and operated shelters” “are not required to act in the interests and desires of the public at large”. It seems as if Commissioners Bonilla and Wilson aren’t acting in the interests and desires of the public at large either. By attempting to remove consumer choice while allowing private rescues and shelters to operate unchecked and unregulated with an underground pipeline of importing animals from other areas, Bonilla and Wilson are not ensuring that Orange County pets and taxpayers are protected.
Private shelters like the privately run Pet Alliance in Orlando are importing thousands of dogs a year from outside of the state. They fill their cages with pets from other states in order to fundraise and adopt at the expense of local dogs and cats in need of homes, like those at the nearby County run shelter. This type of business model of bringing in more adoptable pets through the private sector which competes with the taxpayer funded public shelters, is having a huge impact on our County run shelter and Orange County Taxpayers.
Taxpayers are currently spending roughly 10 million dollars a year to operate the current publicly run animal shelter, and Orange County wants to build a new public shelter at a taxpayer cost of 34 millions dollars. Why should taxpayers be expected to spend tens of millions of dollars to build a new public shelter when Commissioners are doing nothing to stop the never ending flow of thousands of retail rescue pets being imported into the state and county by private shelters and rescues, taking potential homes away from our local adoptable pets? And why do Commissioners Bonilla and Wilson want to remove consumer rights to choose where they obtain their next pet when it should be the consumer who decides which pet is best suited to their home and family?
The privately run shelter Pet Alliance in a single shipment in December of 2020 imported 63 dogs and puppies from out of the State according to records
obtained from the Florida Department of Agriculture. Did Orange County run out of adoptable dogs and puppies, requiring the need to import dogs and puppies from other parts of the country? Or do these privately run shelters compete against our publicly run County Shelter animals looking for homes?
According to public 990 forms, Pet Alliance in 2019 paid out Salaries and wages of approximately $4,072,245. That’s right, 4 million dollars in worth of salaries and wages in a single year. That is very profitable year, and certainly seems to answer the question of why they would want to import more dogs and puppies to build up their bank account and pay themselves hefty salaries and compensations. Commissioners Bonilla and Wilson are attempting to take away your freedoms, while allowing privately run shelters and rescues in the county to import thousands of pets, burdening our local Animal Shelter, and the taxpayer’s pockets. Thousands of these privately operated shelters and rescues operate throughout the State of Florida with little regulation or oversight, with many operating in Orange County. And they will continue to take home fat pay checks on the backs of our most vulnerable companion pets through their hidden pipeline, and the Orange County Taxpayers are left holding the bag.