Dallas, TX
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
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Dallas Bans the Sale of Puppies and Kittens in Pet Stores

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Puppies and Kittens | Image by Oleksandr Lytvynenko

The Dallas City Council unanimously approved an ordinance on Wednesday prohibiting pet store sales of dogs and cats.

The Dallas Morning News reported Dallas residents and animal welfare organizations proposed the Humane Pet Store Ordinance around five months ago.

The SPCA of Texas claims the ordinance will help to improve the health and welfare of animals. In part, banning pet stores from selling dogs also means these stores will not be purchasing dogs from “puppy mills,” theoretically lessening the demand for the allegedly “inhumane” facilities.

“If puppies are sourced from a rescue group or from an animal shelter, then we know that we’ve been vetted, and we know the origin of the puppies,” said Stacy Sutton Kerby, the director of government relations at the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN). “The reason that’s important is to protect both the puppies and to protect people.”

When customer Alison Roche spoke in favor of the ordinance, she mentioned her dachshund, Winston. She stated she paid thousands of dollars for the dog at Petland in North Dallas and then spent more afterward on veterinary fees.

The THLN added that the new rule would support several Dallas-based humane pet stores that partner with local animal shelters such as the SPCA of Texas to rehome animals.

“It is really important that, when people walk into a pet store or a shelter or wherever they’re going, and their goal is to bring home a new furry family member, you want to make sure that the puppy is healthy,” said Kerby.

The American Kennel Club voiced opposition to the ordinance, saying it will limit pet choice and certain consumer protections for individuals and families seeking a dog that matches their lifestyle.

Others are also concerned by the ordinance, like business owner Jay Suk. He operates a Petland store in North Dallas, the only one that sells puppies, and is worried that he will go out of business because puppies make up 75% of his sales.

Elizabeth Kunzelman, the vice president of legislative and public affairs for Petland, says that Suk only purchases puppies from USDA-licensed breeders who have not had any penalties within the last two years.

“I understand that the purpose is to stop puppy mills,” said Suk. “I truly support this goal. However, we work with responsible, licensed, and vetted breeders only.”

Kunzelman’s hope is for the city council to consider that Suk has abided by the rules and grandfather in Petland so that the business is not forced to shut down.

According to John Goodwin of the Humane Society, similar laws have been passed in five states and over 400 cities. Dallas joins Fort Worth as the 11th Texas city to pass retail pet regulations.      

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