Dallas passes ordinance banning sale of cats and dogs

DALLAS — Those looking to add a furry friend to their family will need to look beyond the Dallas pet stores. On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council passed an ordinance banning the sale of puppies and kittens in city pet stores.

What do you want to know

  • The ordinance prohibits the sale of puppies and kittens in city pet stores
  • Petland Dallas owner Jay Suk says he doesn’t buy his puppies from puppy mills, only licensed breeders
  • Suk has filed a lawsuit against the Texas state director of the Humane Society of the United States over derogatory comments he says led to the order

“While Dallas is a place where businesses can thrive and it’s clearly lucrative, we also need to be aware of the trends and practices around this issue,” said District 13 Councilman Gay Donnell Willis. Even with a modified adoption ordinance, residents can still get a puppy or kitten of their choice in Dallas.They can either adopt or rescue an animal from one of Dallas’ many shelters and give a home to them. that animal… or they can search for a breeder to find a pet they love.

PetLand Dallas, owned and operated by Jay Suk, has been in operation for 14 years providing various breeds of puppies to those in and around Dallas. This order endangered his minority-owned pet store. Suk, who came to the United States from Korea in 1999, said he did so to seek greater opportunities.

“This store has supported my family, my 30 employees and the Dallas community for 14 years. My store has generated $2.4 million in tax revenue for the city over the past three years. The city plans to ban the retail sale of puppies, which will put the entire PetLand family out of business.

Yuk said customers wishing to purchase puppies received the breeder’s most recent inspection report. He denied any allegations of using puppy mills to supply his store. He told the council that by closing his store, shoppers would get more puppies from places like Craigslist, giving backyard breeders more room to grow.

“I understand the goal is to stop puppy mills. No one should buy from puppy mills. I really support this call. However, we only work with responsible, approved and controlled breeders. My breeders are licensed and inspected by the USDA.

Current PetLand employees saw Sales Manager Dominique Connor express her support for the family business and its employees at the meeting.

“When you close our store, you close an opportunity for a parent to bring their child, to find the right breed that fits that child’s special needs,” she said. “When you close our store, you close the opportunity for people to learn step by step what it’s like to train their pet, what it’s like for them to spend the first few days figuring out what it’s like. than caring for an animal.

She said closing PetLand would prevent them from helping thousands of people who need advice on pet ownership and relying on their expertise as pet lovers. Connor also discussed the financial assistance the store offers while hoping to own a pet.

“When you close our store, you close the opportunity for people to be financially aware and responsible in choosing how they pay for their pet – whether they decide to pay in full or use many of our financial options” , she said. “Choice is key. The client decides which financial option best suits their lifestyle.

Twenty-eight people have signed up to speak at public comments on the issue, including several animal rights groups in favor of the ordinance.

“Real breeders who actually care for animals and have a license need not worry [about] this ban, because they’re doing it the right way,” Sandra Luhring, director of the Humane Society of Dallas County, told Spectrum News 1. “This ban will hopefully slow down the backyard breeders there. for money.

During the meeting, attorneys on behalf of Yuk announced a lawsuit against Lauren Loney, Texas State Director of the Humane Society of the United States and a supporter of the order. The lawsuit alleges that Loney made disparaging remarks about Yuk’s business practices, which led the Dallas City Council to change the ordinance:

An ordinance amending Chapter 7, “Animals,” of the City of Dallas Code by amending Sections 7-1.1, 7-4.2, 7-4.5, 7-4.10, and 7-8.1; (1) prohibit the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores; (2) provide for a penalty not exceeding $500; provide for a safeguard clause; (3) provide for a severance clause; and (4) provide an effective date. Financing: No fees considered (see Tax Information)

In a statement given to Spectrum News 1, Elizabeth Kunzelman, vice president of legislative and public affairs at PetLand, said they are exploring all legal avenues to challenge this ordinance and are working with the city to reach a ” fair and reasonable solution”. .”

“Make no mistake; the allegations against Mr. Suk are false, so the closure of this minority-owned business is unfair and unjust to our employees and their families,” Kunzelman said.

Loney spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, insisting that PetLand Dallas continues to buy puppies from factories in the Midwest – two of which landed on HSUS’ The Horrible Hundred report this year. . Although she did not provide the names of the grinders in question, she alleged that one site had nearly 300 puppies and dogs while the other had around 200. She said each had quotes of conditions dangerous and unclean for dogs on site. Despite her displeasure with PetLand Dallas’ choices, she didn’t leave the podium before saying she hoped the store would stay open.

“I sincerely hope that Dallas Petland will keep its doors open to this city, retain its employees, and continue to serve this community under the pet-friendly product and service model rather than the inhumane model they currently use.” , Loney said.

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