Background: Texas passed a law regulating large-scale cat and dog breeders in 2011 (Texas Occupations Code – Chapter 802 – Dog or Cat Breeders Act). While the 2011 law successfully prevented animal cruelty at licensed facilities, loopholes allowed numerous large-scale breeders to avoid inspections and meet basic standards of care. By 2023, it was clear that the Texas Licensed Breeders Law needed reform to regulate commercial breeders masquerading as hobbyists.
SB 876 does just that: first, by requiring breeders with five or more breeding females to be licensed. Previously, only breeders with eleven or more breeding females were regulated, which meant a large swath of the industry went sight unseen. According to a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) study, unlicensed breeding facilities are responsible for most cruelty and neglect complaints.
Second, SB 876 removes the need to prove a breeder sold 20 or more animals in a calendar year. Many breeders conduct cash-only sales, which are untraceable. By removing the “proof of sales” requirement, SB 876 closes a significant loophole that allowed commercial breeders to evade accountability. This legislation will effectuate change for thousands of animals across the state and allow the Texas Licensed Breeders Law to oversee the industry as originally intended.
SB 876 was authored by Representative Brad Buckley and co-authored by Senator Pete Flores and Senator John Whitmire. SB 876 is effective September 1, 2023, and breeders with five or more breeding females must be licensed by January 1, 2024.