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City leaders ban retail pet sales in San Antonio

Published on Thursday, October 29, 2020

City leaders ban retail pet sales in San Antonio

New law promotes shelter pet adoptions; stops stores from using “puppy mills”

CONTACT: Lisa Norwood, 210.207.6665  210.315.3130
Alfonso Rios, 210.207.6589   956.961.5782


SAN ANTONIO (October 29, 2020) - People may be used to asking, “How much is that doggie in the window?” when the real question should be “Where did that doggie come from?” A new local ordinance should help would-be pet parents with that answer. Today, members of the San Antonio City Council passed a law that bans retail pet sales within the City limits. Instead, local pet stores will be required to work with local shelters and certified rescues organizations instead of large commercial breeding facilities commonly known as puppy mills. 

Animal Care Services (ACS) Director Heber Lefgren says the new law will provide greater overall protection for people and pets with detailed health certificates and details on the originating agency. “Puppy mills and unscrupulous breeders are all about maximizing the bottom line—bigger and bigger litters with little to no concern for their health,” says Lefgren. “This innovative approach puts some much-needed transparency into the process for prospective pet owners while also ensuring animals are being treated humanely.” The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has long documented the abuses seen in many of the estimated 10 thousand puppy mills operating in the United States. Katie Jarl Coyle, HSUS Regional Director of State Affairs, says the national organization has seen a number of complaints about area pet store operations. “We applaud the San Antonio City Council for passing this important animal welfare and consumer protection measure,” said Katie Jarl-Coyle, Regional Director for the Humane Society of the United States. “This ordinance ensures puppy mill puppies will no longer be trucked into our city to be sold to unsuspecting consumers at local pet stores.”

The ordinance will go into effect January 1, 2021. It does not impact a person’s ability to obtain the pet of their choice from an animal shelter, rescue group or even a breeder who sells directly to the public; however, ACS strongly urges residents to make an informed decision before bringing any pet into their home. Today’s vote also approves a number of policy changes to the existing Chapter 5 animal ordinance including:

  • Enhanced housing requirements for livestock allowed in the city limits.    
  • A prohibition on the “open feeding” of cats which can attract wildlife and create a nuisance.                                                                                                                           
  • Changes in the City’s Aggressive dog law that clarify owner requirements and provide ACS authority to increase restrictions based on case severity. 

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