El Paso Dog Sale Ban Gets Public Hearing

The El Paso City Council will introduce a proposal that would prohibit pet stores from selling dogs and cats.

The El Paso City Council is scheduled to introduce a proposal on Tuesday, July 27, 2010 that would prohibit pet stores in El Paso, Texas, from selling dogs and cats. A public hearing on the matter has been set for Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010.

Under the proposed ordinance, pet stores would no longer be allowed to sell dogs and cats but would be able to sell other living creatures such as reptiles, birds, fish, arachnids and insects.

The proposal would ban the sale of dogs and cats by pet stores as of Sept. 1, 2010. Although a pet store may, from Sept. 1, 2010 through Jan. 31, 2011, sell a dog or cat that is documented to have been in the pet store’s possession in the city prior to that date.

Pet stores, however, would be able to allow animal welfare organizations to use its premises for the transfer of dogs and cats that are at least one year old. Dogs and cats in the possession of the animal welfare organization that are less than one year of age may be advertised, but not transferred to new owners on the premises of a pet store.

Other persons would also be prohibited from selling dogs and cats except for those who hold a valid breeder’s license and litter permit. The sale and transfer of all dogs and cats younger than eight weeks of age would be prohibited under the proposal.

As outlined on the City Council’s agenda, the proposed ordinance would also revise regulations applying to spayed, neutered, unspayed and unneutered dogs and cats; revise permitting procedures; require that a litter permit number be displayed in any advertisement to sell or transfer puppies and kittens; require animals released by the city and animal welfare organizations be spayed or neutered; and provide for an annual report of euthanized animals in the city; among other requirements.

The proposed ordinance reflects discussions from a roundtable that was held last week by the City of El Paso Department of Public Health. The purpose of the roundtable was to get public input so a more specific proposal could be drawn up.

Mayor John Cook had previously shot down a proposal that aimed to increase license fees for unsterilized dogs and cats, set microchip requirements and prohibit the sale of animals younger than eight weeks of age, among other animal regulations. Mayor Cook wanted a more stringent ordinance, one that included a pet sale ban, according to Armando Saldivar, public affairs officer for the City of El Paso Department of Public Health.

PIJAC, which issued an industry alert on the topic last week, is urging its members and others to contact members of the City Council to voice their opposition to this “anti-pet proposal.”

“While this ban is currently limited to dogs and cats, it can easily be expanded to include other pet animals, as has been proposed in other jurisdictions,” PIJAC wrote. “The effect of this proposal is to limit the availability of pets and so it essentially imposes a restriction on keeping pets.”

PIJAC is also encouraging its members and others to attend the public hearing on Aug. 10.

A copy of the proposed ordinance can be found at: http://www.ci.el-paso.tx.us/muni_clerk/agenda/07-27-10/07271009C.pdf

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