Animal advocates speak out against proposed law that would allow Texas pet stores to sell puppy mill puppies
HOUSTON - "We are opposed to this bill, because it essentially makes Texas a haven for puppy mills," an animal control official told members of the House hearing testimony for House Bill 3563.
Those testifying against the bill outnumbered those in favor of the bill.
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"The big box retailers don't get their dogs from reputable ethical breeders, they get them from puppy mills," said an attorney speaking at the hearing.
Pet Stores, like Petland, want the bill to pass.
"Puppy mills are not stopped due to the passage of pet store bans," a Petland representative told lawmakers.
"We would just be going multiple steps backward if this bill passes," said Tena Lundquist Faust, Co-President of Houston PetSet.
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She says House Bill 3563 would make Houston's animal overpopulation problem worse.
"Every shelter in the city in the greater Houston area is over capacity, and the number of dogs and cats on the street is at an all-time high," Lundquist Faust said. "Why are we allowing breeders to breed more animals to put into this pipeline? It doesn't make sense."
Houston Dallas Austin and 14 others in the Lone Star State have ordinances in place prohibiting pet stores from selling puppy mill puppies.
"Pet stores in Houston must source their animals either from a rescue group or a shelter, because that would help absorb a lot of the animals that will die by euthanasia," said Lundquist-Faust.
Even though the city and county still euthanize hundreds of dogs a month, the Petland representative told lawmakers there's a dog shortage.
"The facts are there's not enough dogs in shelters to meet the demand," she said. "Families seeking a purpose bred puppy may not be able to find that at a shelter or a rescue."
House Bill 3563 would allow qualified breeders to supply pet stores.
"Qualified breeders are the same producers', same suppliers, that have been shipping puppies from far away large commercial facilities to retail pet stores for decades," said Stacy Sutton Kerby with Texas Humane Legislation Network. "It's the same supply chain that has been defrauding Texas consumers by selling sick and defective puppies."