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Dallas bans sale of cats and dogs at pet stores in effort to reduce puppy mill market

Dallas Animal Services
City officials say residents should look first to shelters like Dallas Animal Services when they want to adopt a pet. A new ordinance bans the sale of cats and dogs at pets stores in Dallas.

Pet stores in Dallas are now banned from selling dogs and cats after a city council vote Wednesday. The Humane Pet Ordinance is aimed at eliminating a market for commercial breeding operations like puppy mills.

Animal advocates say this would reduce so-called “cruel breeding practices.”

The council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance. Dallas now joins a list of other Texas cities that have banned the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores, which also includes Austin, College Station and San Antonio.

Council Member Omar Narvaez said the vote was “on behalf of our four-legged friends.”

“I will support them because they don’t have a choice,” he said.

Narvaez says people looking to welcome furry animals into their home should look first to local rescues and shelters. He pointed to Dallas Animal Services, which is located in his West Dallas district.

Council Member Gay Donnell Willis has asked city officials to “beef up information for our Dallas citizens on the options for pet ownership from fostering, to rescue, to buying a specialized breed.”

“We applaud the Dallas Mayor and Council for their leadership on this issue,” said Elizabeth Oreck, National Manager, Puppy Mill Initiatives for Best Friends Animal Society. “We need to finally put a stop to these pet sales that only fuel inhumane treatment of animals and look to healthier, more humane options.”

Lauren Loney, the Texas state director of the The Humane Society of the United States, said in March that dogs from puppy-mill breeders and brokers “are bred in horrific conditions and then transported for thousands of miles into the city.”

Got a tip? Alejandra Martinez is a Report For America corps member for KERA News. Email Alejandra at You can follow Alejandra on Twitter @alereports.

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Alejandra Martinez is a reporter for KERA and The Texas Newsroom through Report for America (RFA). She's covering the impact of COVID-19 on underserved communities and the city of Dallas.