Florida Inspectors Conduct Annual Pet Store Patrol

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State inspectors from the Department of Agriculture are fanning out around Florida this month, making sure pet stores are following the law.

Dr. Samuel Lamb with the Florida Department of Agriculture is checking the records at Carol’s Critters. Pet stores have to keep records on each animal for a year, including required health certificates showing the animals were checked out by a vet, vaccinations, and any medications.

"It’s always much better to get one that’s healthy because after the holidays, there’s a lot of hard feelings if you get a pet that’s not healthy," says Dr. Lamb.

Under state law, you have the right to return the pet or get your money back within two weeks if your vet finds the animal is not healthy.

Small mom and pop operations that sell fewer than 20 animals a year are not subject to the same requirements under the pet law, but they still must provide you with an up-to-date health certificate.

Carol’s Critters did pass the inspection, but Carol actually advises against giving someone a pet for the holidays. "We would prefer that people would give a gift certificate or come in as a family or wait until after the busy, crazy holiday season, when everyone is traveling,” she says. “It’s very stressful on new animals, too."

You want to make sure your new addition becomes a healthy and happy member of the family.