Texas House passes measure to protect animals from puppy mills

Texas House passes measure to protect animals from puppy mills
Puppies in a cage at a pet store. (Source: KLTV)

AUSTIN, Texas (KLTV) - Overnight Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives was able to flip 17 votes from “no” to “yes” and officially pass a bill targeting puppy mills.

HB 1818 would restrict retail dog and cat sales in the state of Texas. According to House Republican Jared Patterson, pet stores would only be able to get pets from sources like shelters, animal control agencies, and nonprofits.

“We’re trying to limit that pipeline from puppy mills into these retail pet stores. Folks would still be able to adopt a pet, folks would still be able to go directly to a breeder and choose the pet of their choice,” Patterson said. “We’re not trying to restrict people from getting pets, we’re just trying to eliminate that pipeline of puppy mill pets into the market.”

Patterson said his constituents in Frisco had an issue with a pet store and that’s what initiated the conversation. He said the majority of pet stores in Texas already follow this model, but Texas must enforce a minimum standard and give pet owners peace of mind that their animals have been raised and cared for properly.

“These puppy mills, they typically have these dogs in cages, stacked high without even a newspaper at the bottom of the cage to prevent things from falling down onto the other dogs. Just not a good situation at all,” Patterson said.

Lauren Loney, Texas director for the Humane Society of the United States, says State Representative Patterson “was a champion for animals on the House floor this week.” Adding, “In a state where shelters and rescues are working tirelessly to try to save the lives of homeless pets, pet stores should not be able to truck in thousands of puppies from puppy mills.”

Chris Kemper is the Animal Services Manager in Longview said the more traffic shelters get, the better chance they have at helping their animals.

“We all want people who are willing to come into our shelter and see the animals that we have. I mean the animals that come out of our facilities, they’re spayed, they’re neutered, they’re microchipped, all of that before they leave our facility,” Kemper said. “And a good portion of the animals that we have available right now, we have waived adoption fees.”

HB 1818 would also require pet stores to maintain records as to where the animal was obtained from for at least a year.

The measure passed the House Thursday and now moves to the Texas Senate.

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