Hillsborough Commissioners Look Into Banning Rabbit Sales

TAMPA -- Hillsborough County Commissioners vote 6-1 to start drafting an ordinance to ban rabbit sales at pet stores.

The ordinance would have exemptions for educational and agricultural uses.

Speakers during public comment mostly favored the new rule, saying people decide to buy rabbits for Easter and other occasions "impulsively". Laura Pennington described the fates of all the rabbits she acquired as a child growing up in Tampa. "One was killed by a dog, second improperly cared for, third and fourth killed by pesticides, and the fifth one didn't live a day. I bought it at a pet store and he was immediately killed by a cat."

The no vote came from Joshua Wostal, who says it's a slippery slope that could lead to bans on other animals. Wostal, who says he owns a Siberian husky, says some people would like to ban his pets, or enact bans on cows. Wostal pointed out that blue state California has a statewide ban on rabbit sales, and Wostal says "I have no interest in following their lead."

The proposed ordinance would be modeled on one enacted by Pasco County that bans all public sales of rabbits. The draft will be presented at the next Hillsborough commission meeting in January, followed by a public hearing.

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