New Braunfels City Council votes 4 to 3 to ban sale of pets from commercial breeders | Community alert

New Braunfels became the 14th city in Texas to pass a pet sale measure after city council members on Monday approved the final reading of an ordinance prohibiting retail pet stores from selling dogs and pets. cats from commercial breeders.

New Braunfels now joins Austin, Bryan, College Station, Dallas, El Paso, Euless, Fort Worth, Houston, Pasadena, San Antonio, Sherman, The Colony and Waco as cities with similar ordinances.

The vote was 4-3, with Mayor Rusty Brockman, Pro Tem Mayor Harry Bowers and council members Jason Hurta voting against the ordinance.

The final vote came after more than an hour of sometimes emotional public comments and deliberations by council members.

The ordinance authorizes a retail pet store to sell, lease, offer for sale, barter, give for consideration, or transfer a cat or dog if it is obtained from an animal shelter or humane animals.

In addition, the ordinance requires pet stores to maintain a record of every cat and dog from an animal shelter or animal welfare organization for at least one year from the date of sale or transfer and to make these records available to the city upon request.

The idea behind the measure is animal safety and limiting the activity of commercial breeders, called puppy mills by animal advocates, defined by the Humane Society of the United States as “an establishment for the breeding of dogs inhumane business in which dog health is ignored in order to keep overhead costs low and profits to be maximized.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 10,000 puppy mills are active in the country and 500,000 dogs are kept solely for breeding purposes in puppy mills.

The order does not mention a specific company. Yet over the past year, discussions between members of the city’s Animal Services Advisory Board, council members, residents, animal welfare advocates and shop owners have focused on the only store in New Braunfels that sells puppies, Puppyland, which began operations in August 2021.

As in previous meetings, owner Kayla Kerr continued to deny that the store was sourcing animals from dangerous and unethical breeders, stating that the store only sells animals from responsible breeders licensed by the USDA, verified breeder inspection reports and offered sanitary guarantees.

In previous meetings, Kerr has explained that before the puppies go in-house, they all go to JAKS Puppies for microchipping and checkups. Animal welfare advocates view the Iowa-based facility as a puppy mill or brokerage.

“As written, your prescription does nothing productive for pets or people,” Kerr said. “A ban will lead your residents to turn to unregulated backyard breeders and parking lot sales. No rules, no regulations, no protection.

She added that the city “allowed us to spend a large amount of money to open our store. You gave us a kennel license, and then you decided you weren’t sure about us. If you want to improve the pet industry, if you want to protect your citizens… let’s regulate it.

Kerr said the store has sold about 800 puppies since opening with a claim rate of less than 1%.

But residents and animal advocates, some sporting red T-shirts with the message “Go Humane,” again came out in force to call on council members to embrace the point, saying current federal and state regulations don’t not adequately address health and safety. of dogs from commercial breeding establishments.

Business owner and advisory board member Tanya Palmer told board members that her comments at a previous meeting about the American Kennel Club in an earlier Herald-Zeitung article had been misrepresented and wanted to clarify that the organization does not prohibit breeders from selling to pet stores.

“If one visits the website of the American Kennel Club, one of the oldest and most respected breed club registries in the world, one can access the Breeders’ Code of Ethics at the website listed in the national parent club directory for AKC recognized breeds,” she says, “which means if you go to the website and go to every individual code of ethics there — I never said the AKC was banning or prohibiting sales to pet stores.”

Palmer continued to defend the order, saying she “has objections” to not being able to see the mother and father at the scene, see the behavior or interact with the parents, as well as not having a information on the longevity of the breeder.

Stacy Sutton Kerby, director of government relations with the Austin-based Texas Humane Legislation Network, thanked council members for passing the ordinance’s first reading and added that the council’s action was part of a trend growing.

“This effort here tonight is part of a larger trend — since the last (state) legislative session, three cities in Texas passed pet store ordinances,” Kerby said. “And that’s building momentum to eventually bring back statewide legislation in 2023. While we’ve seen this type of ordinance passed in many different cities, no two cities are the same.” They all had to look at their own set of circumstances. Like you, they’ve sought input from their constituents, their council-appointed animal advisory committees, their city attorney’s offices, and pet-focused business owners, and yet they’re all came to the same conclusion: dogs and cats sold in pet stores should be of human origin.

Puppyland owner Justin Kerr’s reaction to the council’s action was one of what he described as extreme disappointment, but he added that “we believe that over time to review the facts, the truth will prevail”.

“We understand the underlying concern about animal safety. However, nothing in the proposed order will accomplish that goal,” Justin Kerr said. “As our veterinarian, Bryan Ruiz, reminds us[responsable des services de quartier]and testimonials from our clients, none of our beloved puppies are in a New Brunswick shelter. Our offer is part of the solution, and we urge the City Council to revisit this issue to find a way to work with regulations that raise standards across the industry rather than passing an ordinance that shuts down a single company that is doing its job with humanity.[NeighborhoodServicesManager)andtestimonialsfromourcustomersnoneofourbelovedpuppiesareinanNBshelterOurofferstandstobepartofthesolutionandweurgethecitycounciltorevisitthisissuetofindawaytoworktogetherwithregulationsthatraisethestandardsontheentireindustryratherthanpassanordinancethatshutsasinglebusinessdownthatisdoingitsworkhumanely”[NeighborhoodServicesManager)andtestimonialsfromourcustomersnoneofourbelovedpuppiesareinanNBshelterOurofferstandstobepartofthesolutionandweurgethecitycounciltorevisitthisissuetofindawaytoworktogetherwithregulationsthatraisethestandardsontheentireindustryratherthanpassanordinancethatshutsasinglebusinessdownthatisdoingitsworkhumanely”

Twenty-five employees work at the New Braunfels Puppyland site.

The order does not affect private residences that are not generally open to the public, animal shelters or facilities run by animal welfare organizations.

The ordinance defines animal welfare organizations as any nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Service regulations that takes unwanted, abandoned, abused, or stray animals and placed in permanent or foster homes.

The measure also changes the definition of a retail pet store as a for-profit retail establishment or place of business where cats or dogs are sold, leased, offered for sale, traded or given away for consideration. .

The order provides for a one-year grace period.

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