WHAT IS A HUMANE RETAIL PET STORE ORDINANCE?
A humane retail pet store ordinance requires pet stores that sell dogs and cats to acquire those animals from humane sources – namely shelters and rescues. This takes puppy mill cruelty out of the equation and assures the purchaser their new pet is in good health.
WHAT TEXAS CITIES HAVE HUMANE RETAIL PET STORE ORDINANCES?
Austin, College Station, Dallas, El Paso, Euless, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Sherman, and Waco currently have Humane Retail Pet Store Ordinances. In the summer of 2022, New Braunfels and San Marcos began the process of updating their city ordinances to require humane sourcing of dogs and cats sold in retail stores. To see the Texas humane retail pet store ordinances that have already passed, go here.
WHAT IMPACT DO THESE ORDINANCES HAVE?
Humane retail pet store ordinances protect both pets and people. Puppies sold in retail pet stores are overwhelmingly sourced from large-scale commercial breeding facilities out of state. These facilities, which are notorious for putting profits over the health and welfare of the dogs they breed and sell, are commonly referred to as “puppy mills.” Their business model is to produce as many puppies as possible for shipment across the country.
Studies show that puppies from these facilities are highly vulnerable to disease and defects before shipment and are compromised even more during transport. Puppies often arrive at their final destination dehydrated and sick. In addition to the grief of purchasing a sick pet, purchasers are often saddled with extremely high vet bills from caring for their sick puppy. A humane retail pet store ordinance will protect families from unwittingly purchasing puppies subjected to puppy mill cruelty.
Lastly, consumers consistently complain of being duped into signing predatory lending agreements which include exorbitantly high-interest rates and balloon payments. In some cases, the contract includes an option to "repo" the pet if a consumer misses a payment. And the payments must be made even if the pet dies or is euthanized due to illness or defects. There is no puppy lemon law in Texas, so these consumers rarely seek legal recourse. When they do, the cost of bringing a civil suit far outweighs any possible damages they might collect if they manage to prevail in court. Humane retail pet store ordinances protect consumers from this type of fraudulent business practice.
DOES TEXAS NEED A STATEWIDE HUMANE RETAIL PET SALES LAW?
During the 2021 Texas Legislative session, a humane retail pet sales bill – House Bill 1818 - came close to passing. Legislators overwhelmingly supported the bill to stop the sale of sick, defective puppies to Texas consumers. The bill failed, but the problem persists. Texas needs a statewide humane retail pet sales law to halt the puppy mill pipeline into Texas.
IF PET STORES DON’T SELL COMMERCIALLY BRED PUPPIES, HOW WILL I GET A PUREBRED DOG?
Texas has hundreds of purebred rescue groups – you can find any type of dog you are looking for from toy dog breeds to working and show dogs. Of course, our motto is “adopt don’t shop”. But for folks who have their heart set on purchasing a particular type of dog from a commercial breeder, remember that a reputable breeder would never allow their puppies to be sold in pet stores. Ask to “meet the parents” by visiting the place where the breeding dogs are housed, and the puppies will live until they are ready to move in with you. After all, this is a new family member you’re adding to your household – you will want to be sure the puppy you’re going to fall in love with is coming from a healthy, cruelty-free environment and that your money isn’t supporting the puppy mill cruelty.
HOW CAN YOU HELP STOP THE PUPPY MILL PIPELINE IN TEXAS?
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Want to learn more? See our Claims vs Facts here.