An Act Relating to the Sale of Dogs and Cats by Pet Stores (Texas)
H.B. 870/S.B. 1989
Would prohibit pet stores across the state from selling dogs and cats. Instead, stores would be encouraged to partner with animal shelters and rescue organizations to offer animals for adoption.
Proposed legislation in Texas, H.B. 870/S.B. 1989, sponsored by Rep. Jared Patterson (R-106) and Sen. John Whitmire (D-15), would prohibit pet stores across the state from selling dogs and cats. Instead, stores would be encouraged to partner with animal shelters and rescue organizations to offer animals for adoption.
“Puppy mills” and “kitten mills” are large-scale commercial breeding operations where profits are prioritized over the health and well-being of the animals. Mills produce as many animals as possible, as quickly as possible, in order to turn a profit. Virtually all animals sold in retail stores are produced by mills. Retail stores are an ideal partner for puppy and kitten mills because they allow the cruelty at high-volume breeding facilities to remain hidden from consumers.
These bills would prohibit a retail store from selling a dog or cat “unless the pet store obtained the dog or cat from an animal control agency, an animal shelter, or an animal rescue organization.” Instead, stores would be encouraged to partner with animal shelters and rescue organizations to offer animals for adoption.
Multiple states have successfully passed similar legislation, including California, Maryland, Maine, Washington, Illinois, and, as of 2022, New York. Hundreds of North American cities and counties also have similar bans in place, including 16 in Texas. These laws are a critical tool in combating cruel large-scale commercial animal breeding facilities.
The goal of retail pet sale bans is to reduce the demand for animals bred in inhumane mills. Animals bred in mills experience severe cruelty and neglect. They are denied adequate veterinary care and the nutrition, exercise, and companionship they need to thrive. Typically kept in tiny cages 24 hours a day and denied the ability to socialize with other animals or run outdoors, mother dogs are forced to have multiple litters every year until they are no longer able to produce puppies. Once they are no longer considered profitable, they are often killed.
Prohibiting the sale of puppies and kittens bred in mills also protects consumers. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has represented numerous families who have been left with hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinary bills caring for gravely ill animals purchased from pet stores that made false or misleading claims about the animals’ veterinary records and overall health. Despite intervention, some of the animals died.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund strongly supports H.B. 870/S.B. 1989 and retail pet sale bans. To learn more about proposed animal protection legislation in Texas, visit aldf.org/texas.