Texas legislature is preparing to gut the state program that prohibits puppy mills

Jun 6, 2020

We wanted to immediately alert you to a disturbing development: the Texas legislature is preparing to gut the state program that prohibits puppy mills. If you are one of the animal lovers who helped us pass the 2011 Texas Dog & Cat Breeder Act to regulate the conditions in large-scale animal breeding facilities, or one of the many Texans who understand that if unregulated,  large scale breeding facilities become inhumane puppy mills producing dogs for profit in the cruelest condition, we know you will share our alarm.

You may be wondering how this is happening now, when the legislature isn't even in session.  By law, Texas requires a "Sunset Review" of state agencies every 12 years to determine whether that agency should continue to exist. During that process, programs and departments within the agencies under review can be changed or abolished. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is currently under review and must be reauthorized by the Legislature during the 2021 Session. In advance of the vote, the Sunset Commission reviews the agencies in depth and makes recommendations through a Staff Report. That report was just released. 

During the review process, THLN provided information and data demonstrating the importance of the program licensing and regulating large scale commercial dog and cat breeders created by the 2011 passage of The Dog and Cat Breeder Act. Despite that, in the Sunset Staff Report, the Sunset Commission advised that the breeder program is not necessary to protect the Public and therefore states that the breeder program "could be safely eliminated."  

Elimination of the program would certainly NOT be safe for the dogs in large scale breeding facilities, the puppies produced for profit without even the minimum care, and the unsuspecting public defrauded through puppy store sales of puppies with serious illnesses and health conditions. It's our job, just as it was in 2011, to remind legislatures of the risks.

Under the current program, and as defined by The Texas Dog and Cat Breeder Act, large scale breeders are required to provide basic protections for thousands of dogs and cats confined and raised in large scale breeding facilities by requiring humane housing and care standards and needed veterinary care. Because a law doesn't work unless it can be enforced, the TDLR Breeder Program requires periodic inspections and annual veterinary care. Anyone who has 11 or more adult intact female dogs and /or cats and who sells or offers to sell 20 or more dogs or cats in a calendar year must be licensed. The law provides exemptions for certain types of dog breeding, including dogs bred for herding livestock, hunting, or competing in field trials. If a breeder is operating without a license but meets the requirements for licensure, the business will be subject to enforcement actions, including administrative penalties and sanctions. 

As we develop a plan to move forward, our goal is to protect this incredibly important program, which was created by the legislature with the support of thousands of Texans. An administrative review should not be able to deconstruct and dismiss a law that was passed by the legislature, and a program that is critical to protecting animals and humans of Texas. And we can't make forward progress if we are forced to start all over with a fight we already won. 

We will have more information to share with you in the days and weeks to come as we continue to analyze the report and prepare an outreach plan. We did not want to waste any time in alerting you about this important development. 


Showing 48 reactions

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  • Cristina Thompson
    Please. we have already a Horrific situation in Texas and all the south with overbreeding , I have already a few open cases of unlicenced breeders open under investigation,, this must be STOP! Way to much animal abuse our shelters are full, we also need a law in texas that oversee dogs charities organizations,, asking for donation.. not following the laws ..of having the dogs pull from shelters having them chip, vaccinated, and S/N ,, moving them out of state where ?>to other states that permit dogs to be used for laboratory studies? or to be sold for little or nothing to dogfighting gangs ? This is criminal activities that need to be STOP!..please have these people out to work not use innocent dogs for just a few bucks change,, the majority have a criminal background ..please stop! Are we a civilized state or not?
  • Gloria Zenteno
    We don’t need puppy mills , we don’t need back yard breeders, we don’t need more animals that we can’t take care of. What we do need is more emphasis on spay and neuter and pet education to take better care of the animals we have.
  • Gloria Zenteno
    We don’t need puppy mills , we don’t need back yard breeders, we don’t need more animals that we can’t take care of. What we do need is more emphasis on spay and neuter and pet education to take better care of the animals we have.
  • Cristina Thompson
    We don’t need puppy mills , we don’t need back yard breeders, we need mandatory S/N . for everyone unless the breeder is state licenced and inspect it ..plus we need better laws ..the AKC is an organization good just to keep records of the dogs but don’t help the purchaser .. for them to do something to a person that was misleading from a breeder and did incur many vet bills for a puppy with genetic problems .. they will go against the breeders just of the case go to court and they must have proof that the breeder was in fault, I am asking myself,, the purchaser of the puppy does he need to go and rob a bank to afford all of this? A CLIENT NEEDS PROTECTION FROM THE STATE LAW AS WHEN HE GO OUT TO EAT,, NEED CHILD CARE,, AND MEDICAL ..
  • Cristina Thompson
    Why is my comment flag? what did I say wrong?
  • Cristina Thompson
    The overbreeding must STOP AS IT IS! ..To many dogs, this is a third world country epidemic, no matter if some Americans post pictures from china,, this country isn’t better, the state law much change for the protection of the dogs,, Puppy mills should be out from Texas we have already many back yard breeders ..myself had to report some breeders that were letting their license expired..this must stop! A business in a civilized country we need laws , the same go for dogs and cats, breeders.. not matter what,, the law enforcement goes by the state law ..in this state, it MUST BE IMPROVE !! As citizens and customers, we end up paying big $$$ to breeders that care less about breeding dogs with genetics problems,, the AKC will not take off their license until the case go to court and lose the case , that shows they live it up to the states, my husband wrote to our governor after I show him many proofs of horrors and abuse , I must add my husband is a 100%disable American vet with 3-1/2 years of war on his back he saw many horrors in the far east,,of course, he is surprised what it is going on in his state, we are not BETTER! Our governor likes to wash his hands and give it back to the cities and counties,, those in return goby the state law especially in rural areas ..we must get control!
  • Margaret Cooper
    There’s just too many puppies being born , far more than can ever be adopted out. People throw them out of cars, off of bridges, or just let them starve to death because they can’t be bothered to take care of them.
  • Angelan Cobb
    We have a rescue from a puppy mill. His name is Dunkin. When we rescued him he’s was 3 months old and weighed 6lbs and had 4 types of internal parasites plus pneumonia. Vet said he would have died within a couple of days without care. We have had Dunkin for 7 years now and he is a happy healthy 70lb member of our family.
  • Ashley Ward
    I have a rescued puppy mill puppy that was dumped on thw highway between my county and the next. This poor little guy has no idea why he has been dumped or why he was so hungry all the time. After I took him home to foster, I feel in love with his sweet and caring soul. He just wanted someone to love him. This poor little guy has had never slept in a bed, ate wholesome dog food or knew the love that was waiting for him. I also encountered large vet bills for him since his health is very poor due to living in a cage. Now, after 13 Little Man has lost his sight but not his will to survive. These dogs may be the filthiest dogs you ever see, but in the end all they want is a full belly, a warm bed and someone to love them.
  • Doreen Salazar
    With all the animals in shelters, rescues, streets, the govt should keep up inspections, licenses, and most important, limit the number of litters. NOW !
  • Marla Briley
    The millions of dollars that are spent, every year, on dog and cat over population would be better spent in other areas but that is never going to happen as long as there are puppy mills adding to the pet over population problem.
  • Cristina Thompson
    This state of Texas and this country has way to many problems of animal cruelty and over breeding,abuse laws aren’t not harsh enough to control all the crimes to animals ,,Europe as usual looks like it is more ahead of this state and country, in many way in the protection of dogs and still have problems,,HE NEED TO PUT A BREAK , THE OVER BREEDING OF BACKYARD BREEDERS IN IT INTOLERABLE..IT IS A SHAME ..A MATTER OF FACT ALSO THE WAY IT IS NOW THE STANDARDS OF THE LICENCE BREEDERS ARE NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST IT ,,BACK YARD BREEDERS NEEDS TO BE STOP ALSO !I SURE HOPE YOU ALL WILL NOT PERMIT PUPPY MILLS,,WE HAVE CRIMINALS INVOLVE IN RESCUES AND READY TO COLLECT PLEDGES AND NOT PROVIDE PROPER CARE FOR THE DOGS (IN REGARD OF RESCUES WE NEEDS LAWS FOR THEM ALSO MANY HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD )PLEASE LET LIVE THE LAWS WE HAVE AND IMPROVE THE STANDARDS..PLUS WE NEED TO HAVE A STATE LAW TO IMPOSE MANDATORY SPAY AND NEUTER TO ALL , JUST LICENCE INSPECT IT BREEDERS SHOULD BE ABLE TO KEEP THEIR DOGS INTACT ..
  • Becky Norman
    It’s time for our higher ups to get their heads on straight and stop regressing, but move forward. We simply DO NOT NEED PUPPY MILLS, or as I call them, cash factories with no thought in mind to the well being of the animals that must play a part in this outrageous activity.
  • Larissa Rampp
    They deserve better!
  • Jane Stewart
    Texas really needs to step up for these animals
  • LouAnn Reid
    Puppy mills are a disgrace the the canine species. There are so many wonderful dogs that could be adopted without genetic defects and disease that would welcome a loving home. Responsible breeders who raise and breed with integrity are welcome in my opinion, but the owners of puppy mills only see dollar signs for their dogs. It sickens my stomach. What else that sickens me are pet shops that knowing purchase these dogs to sell as full blooded whatever breeds. 🐾🐾
  • Carol Burns
    Please for the love of God, have compassion for these sweet innocent creatures. Tell these Puppy Mill owners to get a job that doesn’t involve abusing animals
  • Monica Drake
    When will Texas finally be freed from a history of rolling back, filibustering, or voting against needed animal protection laws? And now we need to reexamine laws against puppy mills? Who elected these people?
  • Cecilia Hoyle
    Their lives matter!
  • Ann Harlan
    I agree with THLN, an administrative review should not be able to deconstruct and dismiss a law that was passed by the legislature, and a program that is critical to protecting animals and humans of Texas.
  • Monica Weir
    Why in the world would we regress on this? You’re putting sentient beings through hell. You’ll be wiping out slow but steady progress. You’ll be exacerbating an already black mark on the state. Texas, we can do better. Don’t undo the little bit of legislation that protects against torture.
  • Becky Norman
    This is so ass backward and needs to be stopped. There should be no puppy mills!!! They are a breeding ground for disease, cruelty, overpopulation of pets and Is partially responsible for the increase in shelter animals and strays. Houston is one of the worst cities in Houston with pet overpopulation and strays and it is all so totally preventable.
  • Cristina Thompson
    NO PUPPY MILLS ,, NO BACK YARD BREEDERS ,NO TETHERING-24 HOURS A DAY ..(NO MORE THEN 4 HOURS,),DOGS NEED TO BE LET RUN FREE IN FENCED AREAS , ,,AT SAME POINT >>MANDATORY SPAY /NEUTER IS A MUST> OVERPOPULATION IT IS OUT OF CONTROL >>AND MANY RESCUES USE AND ABUSE DOGS AFTER COLLECTING PLEDGES..(THAT SHOULD BE CRIMINAL ACT )>JUST STATE LICENCED INSPECT IT BREEDERS SHOULD BE PERMITTED TO KEEP THEIR DOGS INTACT ,,IT IS TIME TO MAKE THIS STATE CIVILIZED.
  • Cristina Thompson
    We can not allow puppy mills ,we have way to many problems with the over breeding of dogs ,,I have sent to my congress woman in my county horrendous photos …and also of rescues ,, they never did answer me ,and i am very disgusting with our government as it is ,,we need more laws to protect our animals ..also we should make it mandatory any time of back yard breeding..if anyone what to breed the state should know ..Please do not allow i am tired of animal abuse and neglect ,, why creating jobs by killing instead of putting control at the root of the problem , by making mandatory S/N ..I was disappointed with our governor when my husband wrote him about making that law ,,he wrote back to work with ou cities and counties NO..WE NEED A BETTER STATE LAW .. create jobs like that ?..
  • Erin Hamilton
    Puppy mills are disgusting, and most people that buy from them don’t know how terrible these things are run. They produce sick puppies, abuse mama’s, and everything about them are inhumane. NO PUPPY MILLS. WE NEED LAWS.

    I did an entire research paper over this is college (A&M) and many of my classmates had NO idea that they were so bad. THEY NEED TO BE GONE.
  • Erin Hamilton
    Puppy mills are disgusting, and most people that buy from them don’t know how terrible these things are run. They produce sick puppies, abuse mama’s, and everything about them are inhumane. NO PUPPY MILLS. WE NEED LAWS.

    I did an entire research paper over this is college (A&M) and many of my classmates had NO idea that they were so bad. THEY NEED TO BE GONE.
  • Joanne Kelly
    We can’t allow people to start breeding their animal just because they won’t to live off the money. There is a regulations and is made sure to be followed for a reason. “NO PUPPY MILLS
  • Cristina Thompson
    We need to have every breeder licence ,,,,laws need to be improve to protect the dogs TO MUCH OVER BREEDING …WE NEED MANDATORY SPAY AND NEUTER FOR ALL STATE,,JUST STATE LICENCE
    STATE INSPECT IT BREEDERS CAN BREED..,,THERE IS WAY TO MUCH OVER BREEDING IN THIS STATE AND COUNTRY ,,IT MUST STOP !!!!!
    WE NEED TO MAKE IT ILLEGAL RESTRAIN DOGS FOR MORE THEN 5 HOURS AT THE TIME.. BY TETHERING.. ,,TYING A DOG TO A CHAIN ..IT SHOULD BE MADE ILLEGAL ..YOU ALL MAY WANT TO LEARN SOME LAWS FROM WESTERN EUROPE LOOKS LIKE IN THIS COUNTRY YOU ALL ARE TO PRONE TO INCIVILITY>>> STOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPEDUCATE YOUR CITIZEN>>
  • Rosemarie Lauro
    If the state don’t help theses animals they will die please step up save them
  • Cristina Thompson
    Please ,we need to keep the laws we have PLUS we need to add need ones..and more restricted ,,we can’t allow backyard breeders either ..our shelters are full to much over breeding abuse neglect ..LET STOP THE KILLING IN THIS STATE ,,PLEASE no one should breed without a licence ..a business needs to be run like a business ,,and humanity !