The ordinance was approved by the Austin city council and is a step toward putting an end to the use of puppy mills. The new measure makes Austin the first city in Texas to be added to growing list of cities closing down on the primary path of sales for puppy mill pets. Khou.com reports that puppy mill dogs are mainly sold in commercial pet stores or directly to customers over the internet.
Nicole Paquette, Texas senior state director of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), said in an HSUS statement, “We commend the humane leaders of Austin for recognizing the direct link between inhumane puppy mills and commercial pet store sales of dogs and cats. By drying up the demand for puppy mill dogs, the ordinance will boost adoptions for area animal shelters and rescue groups, and increase opportunities for responsible dog breeders.”
The city’s new ordinance will prohibit the sale of dogs and cats at locations other than where they were bred. The only exceptions will be for the City of Austin Animal Shelter, nonprofit organizations registered with the city and animals being adopted at mobile pet adoption establishments.
David Lundstedt, vice-chair of the Austin Animal Advisory Commission, noted this step in the right direction. “Austin kills roughly 6,000 animals a year, at a significant cost to the taxpayer, and there is no reason to ship in hundreds of unspayed and unneutered animals from out of state,” he said in the HSUS statement. “The city wants to encourage people to adopt from the local shelter or the many rescue groups here in Austin.”
Many pet stores, including PETCO and PetSmart, have had financial success without selling dogs from puppy mills. More than 900 independent pet stores across the U.S., including 35 in Texas, have signed the HSUS’ Puppy Friendly Pet Stores pledge and refuse to sell puppies in their stores.
Next year, Texas will consider passing a large-scale regulation of commercial dog breeding facilities and protection for dogs at puppy mills. According to khou.com, Texas is one of only two states in the top 10 puppy mill producing states that has no oversight of the industry.