Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Carmel on the Case: Christmas Pets
A pet can be a very popular Christmas or Hannukah present. But this year, Florida lawmaker's wants to make sure every animal being purchased is in good health. In tonight's Carmel on the Case, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero shadowed an inspector as part of a statewide pet store sweep.
WSVN--Who wouldn't want to bring this guy home... Or this little guy.
Every year thousands of pets end up as Christmas gifts... Despite the fact experts say this is not the best time of the year to bring one home because there is so much going on during the holidays.
But this year, inspectors - like Joe Luaces - from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, are sweeping the state... Making sure pet stores are following the law.
At Precious Puppies in Plantation - Luaces found everything he was looking for and a storeowner in favor of the state inspections.
Cindy Darrell: "Actually I welcome it. I wish it was done more frequently. This is something that should be done on a regular basis, if not annually then bi-annually."
Cindy Darrel's not alone.
At Teacups Puppies in Hollywood - the storeowners are also in compliance with the law and also support the statewide sweep.
Eleonora Bonfini: "I think this is essential and I think this is something that should have been done a long time ago - again for the puppies number one and for the customers."
Florida's Lemon Law offers protection for pets and their owners.
The law requires all animals come with an official certificate of veterinary inspection.
Consumers can return or exchange a pet or get reimbursed for vet bills - if a pet is declared unfit by a veterinarian within two weeks of the purchase date.
And all stores are required to give a copy of the law to purchasers.
Joe Luaces: "It is very important because if they do have a problem with a puppy, they know that they have certain legal records that they can follow up."
Luaces says 98 per cent of the businesses he has checked are in compliance with the law.
But in Hollywood he was concerned with what he found at a pet store - that was closed at 3:30.
In the window - in the afternoon sun - bunnies with no water and puppies with no food.
Carmel Cafiero: "Are you troubled by the conditions?"
Joe Luaces: "Well I am troubled by the fact that nobody's answering the door and the phone is disconnected. You know there should be at least some food for the puppies."
Luaces left a notice on the door and says within hours the new owner called to say food and water would be supplied right away.
It doesn't take much for tiny ones to get sick - so how they have been cared for should be a critical issue before you buy.
Carmel Cafiero: "When it comes to buying a pet - keep in mind you're dealing with a living thing and as a result health problems are always a possibility. So make sure your health documents are in order - before you fall in love. Carmel Cafiero 7 News."
If you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or in Broward at 954-921-CLUE