San Antonio – The San Antonio City Council voted 9 to 1 on Thursday to ban the sale of breeder dogs at pet stores in the city.
Beginning Jan. 1, the city will only allow pet stores to sell dogs or cats they have obtained from city or county animal shelters, animal control agencies, or animal welfare organizations. animal rescue. At the heart of the problem is a concern over so-called “puppy mills” – a term animal rights activists use to describe large commercial breeding operations, especially those with poor conditions.
“Most puppies sold in pet stores come from out-of-state puppy mills or from large breeders or brokers who pass animals on from state to state,” the director of care services said. to the animals, Heber Lefgren, to the members of the board.
There are only three pet stores within the city limits that sell dogs or cats: Petland, Puppyland, and Royal Pet Palace.
The owners of the first two spoke out against the ordinance at Thursday’s city council meeting, defending their businesses.
“You have it where you have good breeders and bad breeders. We understand that,” said Jaime Trueba, one of Petland’s owners. “But obviously we do our best to get only the right breeders. And what they say is that everything is bad in all areas.”
While Lefgren said none of the three pet stores have any known violations with ACS, there’s no legitimate way to tell which of their out-of-town suppliers are good or bad since the market is “underserved.” regulated”.
“USDA standards allow a breeder to confine a dog to a crate for life that is six inches longer than the animal’s height,” Lefgren told the board.
ACS began looking at possible changes in pet sales in 2019. The city included questions about the issue in two “SASpeakUp” online surveys in July 2019 and February 2020. Lefgren said the city n hadn’t contacted the stores directly, saying “the voice of pet stores is well documented and well known.
District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales was the only one to vote against the ordinance, questioning how it addressed one of the strategies in the department’s strategic plan: stronger enforcement of existing laws and codes, enforcement of the stray animal population, increasing the city’s live release rate, and engaging and educating the community about responsible pet ownership.
“I think that order is very wrong,” Gonzales said. ” I do not know where it comes from. It seems to have come from internally or perhaps from other rescue organizations that have the same problem of too many animals. And so these particular companies become scapegoats because of other issues that we have internally in our city.
District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia was absent for the vote.
RELATED: Proposed City Ordinance Would Ban Sale Of Breeders’ Dogs In Pet Stores
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