The Texas Senate on Monday night approved a measure that would impose new regulations, fees and licensing requirements on commercial dog and cat breeders.
The bill regulating so-called "puppy mills" will be sent back to the House to approve amendments the Senate added.
The legislation defines commercial breeders as those who sell or exchange 20 or more animals yearly and have 11 or more females capable of breeding.
Breeders would have to be licensed and undergo yearly inspection, as well as provide basic grooming, a yearly veterinary exam and clean caging to animals. The Senate bill exempts breeders who raise greyhounds and herding or hunting dogs from regulation.
Opponents call the bill a government overreach and say it could put responsible breeders out of business. They say enforcing existing animal cruelty laws would be sufficient to address the problem.
Bill sponsor Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, said the legislation is meant to punish only irresponsible breeders and prevent them from raising animals in cruel conditions.
"This bill gets at true puppy mills, which gets to all types of health and animal welfare issues," he said. "The main thing is to stop breeding in inhumane, unhealthy and unsanitary conditions."