Dallas City Council members banned the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores across the city Wednesday.
The Humane Pet Store Ordinance takes effect in six months. It gives Dallas Petland, the one Dallas store that is still selling live animals, a chance to wind down that business.
Petland supporters and employees in blue shirts were among two dozen public speakers to oppose or support the new law at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
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“I ask that you consider keeping the doors open at Petland Dallas because we would love to continue to serve our community,” Petland Sales Manager Dominique Conner said.
Employees said they work hard to give customers a great experience and they follow up to be sure puppies are happy and healthy.
Owner Jay Suk said Petland only sells animals from licensed breeders inspected by the US Department of Agriculture.
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“If there are violations in the last two years, I ban the breeder from working with our store,” Suk said.
But animal activists, many wearing yellow T-shirts, insisted the Dallas Petland store has recently purchased animals from puppy mills, where conditions are inhumane.
“We have to put our foot down today to make a difference in this horrific problem,” said Tommy Habeeb with the Forever Family Rescue Foundation.
Customers with good and bad experiences purchasing puppies from Petland spoke to the city council.
But after the long list of speakers, the Dallas City Council vote in favor of the new law was unanimous.
The Dallas Petland Store is in Council Member Gay Donnell Willis’ District 13.
“Nine other cities in Texas and more than 400 across the country have the wisdom to ban the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores,” Willis said.
Councilman Jesse Moreno said he once had a bad experience purchasing a puppy from a store and does not want other people to have that chance.
“We will all still have the opportunity to get new dogs and cats from our local shelters or find breeders after doing research,” Moreno said.
Councilman Omar Narvaez said he appreciated the remarks of store employees who seem sincere in their desire to be good to animals and customers. But, he was persuaded by the information from animal activists.
“I will be supporting this ordinance because it's the right thing to do,” Narvaez said.
Advocates for the new law said other pet stores in Dallas seem to do just fine selling pet supplies and promoting adoption.
Petland owner Suk said he will be forced to close.
Fort Worth passed a similar law in 2018.