Animal News

Dallas City Council unanimously passes Humane Pet Store Ordinance

Dallas City Council unanimously passes Humane Pet Store Ordinance

Pet of the week - Hunter Vizsla
Photo courtesy of Citizens for Animal Protection

The Dallas City Council passed an ordinance on May 11 that helps animals. Called the Humane Pet Store Ordinance, it stops the sale of puppies at pet stores in Dallas. Dallas joins Houston, San Antonio, and a growing list of Texas cities that have enacted similar ordinances, which help end the mistreatment of animals by breeders.

The ordinance was recommended by the Dallas Animal Shelter (DAS), as well as groups such as Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), which works to promote better treatment of animals.

"Since January 2021, we have been working tirelessly to pass this Ordinance to close the puppy mill pipeline to Dallas to stop hundreds of sick puppies from being shipped from out-of-state puppy mills," said Stacy Sutton Kerby, THLN's Director of Government Relations, in a release. "Over the years, the THLN helpline has regularly received complaints about Dallas retail stores selling sick or unhealthy puppies. We are so grateful to Chair Adam Bazaldua, Mayor Pro Team Chad West, the entire Quality of Life, Arts, & Culture Committee, and city staff for their support and attention to such a vital animal welfare issue right here in our community."

Dallas now joins Austin, College Station, El Paso, Euless, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Sherman, and Waco in cities that have passed a similar ordinance. 

"This Ordinance will support dozens of local humane pet stores in Dallas that do not sell puppies but rather adopt puppies who desperately need loving families,” said Karen Froehlich, President & CEO of SPCA of Texas. “Our shelter alone has over 1,000 animals in our care today, and shelters across Texas are transporting thousands of adoptable dogs to other states due to overcapacity. The time is right for Dallas to pass this Humane Pet Store Ordinance - both for animals and our community." 

In Dallas, the ordinance affects only one store: Petland. No other pet store chain sells puppies. Reputable pet stores — including PetSmart, Pet Supplies Plus, Petco, Odyssey, The Upper Paw, Pet Supermarket, and Uptown Pup — do not sell puppies or kittens.

In the weeks leading up the May 11 meeting, outside firms deluged Dallas via online and traditional media with ads lobbying against passage. And at the meeting, Petland recruited both out-of-state breeders, including one scary guy in his car calling in from Missouri, as well as store employees to comment.

But the council approved the measure unanimously.

The only Petland store in Dallas is located in District 13, represented by council member Gay Donnell Willis, who thanked Dallas Animal Services' manager MeLissa Webber, and said that she herself had adopted a kitten from DAS.

"While Dallas is a place for business to thrive, it's also important to be mindful of trends and best practices," Willis said. "And even with the passage of this ordinance, residents can adopt or rescue an animal from the shelter, or can still buy a puppy from a breeder. This is only at retail stores. Nine other cities in Texas have had the wisdom to ban the sale of puppies, and I hope Dallas will join them."