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San Antonio, TX and DuPage County, IL Ban on Sales of Dog and Cats at Pet Stores


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There’s just no stopping the momentum, as San Antonio, TX now passed a ban on sales of dogs/cats at pet stores (going into effect January 1, 2021). The Council vote was 9 to 1.

Of the 51 pet stores within  San Antonio city limits, only three sell dogs and cats. The closest Petland isn’t impacted because they are outside the city. Petland is one of the biggest or perhaps the biggest offender when it comes to selling dogs across the U.S.

Residents from animal rescue organizations and representatives of local pet stores spoke at the San Antonio council meeting. All agreed they want to stop puppy mills but disagreed on how to achieve that.

Petland Vineyard owner David Moreno said at the council meeting that the ordinance would not have the intended effect of putting an end to bad breeders and would instead drive irresponsible breeders underground. It’s an argument often made by those opposed to these humane ordinances. The problem with that argument is that only bad breeders (puppy millers primarily) sell to pet stores. No responsible breeder ever sells to a pet store. Having said that, of course, we need to have real and more efficient inspections on large scale breeding facilities.

Another Petland owner Jaime Trebaold told council members the requirements would negatively impact their business model. “Petland provides our customers with the opportunity to choose a pet or breed or puppy that works best for families.By implementing the ban, you’ll be taking away the right to choose and the ability to offer that service.” This argument ignores the fact that responsible hobby breeders are still a legal and far more viable source, as are the legitimate purebred rescue organizations. However, what’s ironically true is that the American Kennel Club longtime support of large scale breeders is actually a contributing factor to driving away the once backbone of breeders, the small scale breeders.

More than 380 cities across the U.S. and Canada now have restrictions on the retail sales of dogs and cats. In Texas, Austin, Waco, Fort Worth, El Paso and The Colony — a suburb of Dallas — ban all retail sales of dogs and cats at pet stores.

In Illinois, there are now 20 cities and two counties as the DuPage County Board also just passed an ordinance that declares puppy and kitten mills a public nuisance along with the stores that peddle them. The new language gives the county more authority to stop the sale of mill puppies in stores in unincorporated DuPage. Cook County already has a law in place. And Freeport, IL enacted their ban in October.

When a significant number of cities and/or counties is a given state support bans on sales of dogs and cats (and sometimes also rabbits) at pet stores – entire states have gone ahead with state-wide pet store sales restrictions. California, Maryland and Maine have passed limits on pet store sales. New York and New Jersey are in the process of following but have been slowed by the pandemic. If it wasn’t for limited legislative sessions because of the pandemic there’s little doubt that additional states would also be in the process.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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