Mar 28, 2022 - News

National lobbying group opposes Dallas puppy-sale ban

A dirty, sad looking dog
A screenshot from a HumanWatch.org video criticizing the Humane Society. Screenshot via YouTube.

As Dallas leaders consider an ordinance that would ban stores from selling puppies, a national organization has a local campaign opposing the effort.

  • HumaneWatch, which lobbies against animal rights legislation, has begun radio advertising opposing the puppy-sale ban and launched an email campaign directed at Dallas officials.

Why it matters: Hundreds of animals are transported into Dallas from out-of-state puppy mills each year, many just 8 weeks old and sick, according to the Texas Humane Legislation Network, an advocacy group that works to pass laws with more humane policies for animals.

Zoom out: HumaneWatch is funded by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit that gets funding from the food and beverage industry.

Context: Ten Texas cities already have similar bans on the books, including Austin and Fort Worth, and Dallas leaders supported legislation that would've created a similar prohibition statewide.

Meanwhile, Dallas Animal Services is trying to find homes for 90% of the dogs and cats it takes in each year.

  • A ban on pet store sales would "support Dallas Animal Services by moving the local pet market towards shelters and rescues," according to a presentation in December at the quality of life, arts and culture committee.

Of note: The Dallas Animal Advisory Commission didn't vote on the matter, but in its first meeting of the year the commission was generally supportive of the proposed ordinance, per a city memo.

What they’re saying: The group that opposes the puppy-sale ban says on its site that "this measure, if passed, would hurt both dogs and people," comparing the ban to Prohibition.

The other side: Americans spend billions on their pets each year.

  • "No pet store has to sell puppies in order to be a successful business," Lauren Loney, the state director of the Humane Society of the United States, told council members during a briefing last year.
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