On Thursday, the Orange County Zoning Commission put on the brakes to one man’s plan to open a dog breeding facility in the area of Lake Pickett and Tanner roads.

What You Need To Know

  • The Orange County Zoning Commission voted to deny a proposal to open a dog breeding facility in the area of Lake Pickett and Tanner roads 

  • Juan Santa had come to the commission with plans to breed and sell dogs on his property

  • Santa told commissioners that he is an experienced breeder with more than 17 years experience in Canada

  • More than 50 people voiced their opposition to the plan during Thursday's meeting

Juan Santa, a self-proclaimed animal lover and breeder from Canada, had plans to open a breeding facility near Lake Pickett and Tanner roads.

In a unanimous vote, commissioners said no to Santa’s proposal, which included a 1,200-square-foot indoor playground for dogs.

Santa, who already owns 64 dogs, said he had plans to produce a variety of breeds on his property.

Santa’s plans have not been without controversy.

Representatives from animal rescue groups and others showed up in full force Thursday to voice their opposition against the breeding facility.

“We know from history, and we know from what his website used to look like, and we know from his annual revenues of $2-5 million, that he is a retail puppy seller, and he makes a lot of money doing it,” said Michele Wacker, who lives down the street from Santa’s property.

Wacker, who has rescued dogs herself for more than 20 years, said Santa is “trying to pretend he’s not a retail store, but something else.”

Opponents of the facility have said Santa was simply opening an online pet store, and point to the fact that an Orange County ban on pet-store dog sales went into effect 2022.

But Santa told Spectrum News 13 that his operation would not have been a puppy mill or a retail store.

“The selling of dogs is not banned — it’s just the selling of dogs in a pet store," he said. " And for obvious reasons, because most pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills. And that is what we need to stop."

Thursday’s Orange County commission meeting was a packed house.

About 25 people got up and spoke against Santa’s plans for a breeding facility in Seminole county.

No one spoke in favor of it, other than Santa himself.

Spectrum News caught up with Santa after the decision, but he said he had no comment at the time.