On Sunday, Bernard Nowakowski, the owner of a pet store called Puppy Luv in Safety Harbor, was arrested and charged with 26 counts of animal cruelty after deputies found dogs in pens without food or water. The Pinellas Sheriff’s Office described conditions inside the store as “extremely unclean.” One dog was in a pen that was too small, another dog appeared to be sick. The dogs were removed by Pinellas County Animal Services. Mr. Nowakowski was led away from the store in handcuffs!
Last week, Lee County Animal Services officers visited the Pet Kingdom store in Fort Myers and found a stack of blank health certificates that had already been signed by a local veterinarian. The store may have been selling puppies that had not seen a vet, a violation of state law. (In addition to dogs, at Pet Kingdom you’ll also find birds, anteaters, monkeys and other exotic animals that may or may not be for sale.)
The good news from these stories is that local law enforcement is responsive to complaints. If you believe that an animal is being abused or neglected, please take action! On our website, ARFF provides links to the websites of animal control departments in most counties in the state of Florida.