NEW PORT RICHEY
County curbs flea market pet sales
No more selling cats and dogs at flea markets. That was the decision Pasco County commissioners reached Tuesday after months of heated discussions that drew out animal rights activists and breeders. Commissioners voted 4-1, with Jack Mariano dissenting, to ban such pet sales at flea markets, a move that Commissioner Ted Schrader said was to curb impulse buying. "If they want to get a puppy they have time to truly think about it," he said. Mariano said the measure put an undue burden on businesses, not only breeders but flea market owners. "This is America," he said. "Why impose your wishes on these business people on how they want to do business?" The measure caps off months of debate about tightening county rules regarding animals and working to save 90 percent of the animals housed at the county animal shelter. Commissioners last month banned tethering of dogs outdoors and raised licensing fees to help fund enhancements in animal services. Breeders and flea market owners said the ordinance is flawed because it allows vendors to bring animals to the flea market for display and handle a transaction off site. "This is going to go to court," said Michele Overbeck, owner of the USA Flea Market in Port Richey.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Firefighters union gets a contract
After three years and two impasses, county commissioners approved a new contract with the Pasco firefighters union Tuesday that includes no raises until at least October. The agreement came three months after commissioners agreed to accept a federal grant that would add 18 firefighter positions. The commission had delayed acting on the $2.3 million grant because of the testy collective bargaining talks, which included a grievance over wage increases. The grievance stems from an earlier collective bargaining agreement that includes annual pay raises. Under the new agreement, the union agreed to withdraw its grievance, and merit pay is eliminated as of 2011 and until the next round of bargaining, which begins in June.
Turn in unused meds for disposal
Anyone with unwanted or expired prescription drugs can drop them off, no questions asked, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the City Hall parking lot, 6333 Ridge Road. Port Richey Police officers will be on hand to accept old medications for safe disposal.