Dallas City Council Passes Ordinance Banning Sale of Dogs and Cats at Pet Stores

The Dallas City Council Wednesday passed an ordinance banning the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. The only pet store in Dallas that sells cats and dogs is Petland at Preston Road and Forest Lane.

The ordinance says pet stores can still provide space for displaying dogs or cats available for adoption by an animal shelter or welfare group.

Other major Texas cities, including Austin, College Station, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Sherman, and Waco, have passed similar ordinances, per the Texas Humane Legislation Network, which advocates for the ordinances to prevent the sale of dogs and cats from breeding mills.

“Since January 2021, we have been working tirelessly to pass this Ordinance to close the puppy mill pipeline to Dallas to stop hundreds of sick puppies from being shipped from out-of-state puppy mills,” said Stacy Sutton Kerby, director of government relations at Texas Humane Legislation Network. “Over the years, the THLN helpline has regularly received complaints about Dallas retail stores selling sick or unhealthy puppies. We are so grateful to Chair Adam Bazaldua, Mayor Pro Team Chad West, the entire Quality of Life, Arts, & Culture Committee, and city staff for their support and attention to such a vital animal welfare issue right here in our community.” 

Petland Dallas owner Jay Suk, though, said the store’s pets are responsibly sourced from regulated breeders, and Elizabeth Kunzelman, vice president of legislative and public affairs warned before Wednesday’s meeting that the ordinance would force the Dallas store to close. Kunzelman also the Dallas Morning News that Suk paid about $2.4 million in sales taxes during the past three years.

“I understand the purpose is to stop purchasing from puppy mills. I totally support this goal,” Suk said at Wednesday’s meeting. “By closing my store, more people will buy from unregulated breeders.”

A similar statewide ban, House Bill 1818, was passed by state legislators last summer but died in committee.

As we previously reported, the high-value puppies at the store have been a target of criminals. 

The store was hit twice in two months – on Christmas Eve in 2020, when thieves stole “multiple” bulldog puppies, and on Feb. 18, 2021.

(READ: Puppy Nappers Strike Petland Store – Twice)

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order.

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