COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — College Station City Council voted unanimously to proceed with a proposed amendment to their ordinance governing how dogs and cats in the city are sold.
"That 7-0 was fantastic. It was great. We have great support. Most of our council members have rescues themselves, so they understand what we are trying to do," Judy LeUnes, President of Wienerspiel, a 501(3)(c) in College Station said.
LeUnes, President of a non-profit in College Station that raises money to help homeless, unwanted and neglected animals, says they are aiming to ban the promotion of the puppy mill pipeline.
"Our ordinance would require any business that wants to come in and sell pets, we are not trying to stop that, but they would have to work with a recognized shelter such as Aggieland Humane or a nonprofit 501(c)(3) rescue group. We are not working against breeders," LeUnes added.
Around two years ago, she helped get a pet store at Post Oak Mall shut down.
"Many of the really horrible pet stores actually charge people a dollar to hold a puppy. One puppy might get held every 30 minutes with a different person since most of them are sick, which has been proven with the one we had here, they are going to die within a few days. Those families go home, even if they didn't buy one, they are getting their dogs sick," LeUnes added.
The proposed ban on the sale of cats and dogs in puppy stores, unless they are obtained from an animal shelter or rescue, would make it easier for police to close any future stores that pop up.
"If we found the evidence of that or that was going on would be to follow up with the appropriate action being that it would be against our ordinances. We would have, if it got to the point, some enforcement ability. It does give us a tool to use to stop that or prevent it in the first place," Assistant Chief with College Station Police Department, Chris Perkins said.
LeUnes says there are many ways this ordinance can help the city.
"This is just a win-win. So many people, especially our younger generation, are adopting anyway. This will help us empty shelters. This has been successful in 7 other cities in the state of Texas. We are home to the world-class Texas A and M Vet school. We should be animal-friendly. We should set the stage for the state of Texas," LeUnes shared.
She also says the ordinance hits home for her and her rescue companion 'Remy'.
"Remy was rescued 5 years ago with his bonded brother by my family. He is a perfect example of an animal you can find in a shelter," LeUnes said.
Aggieland Humane Society, one of the animal shelters in Brazos County, says this is a very positive move. This amendment will also help reduce pet overpopulation.
"There will be no place in College Station that can have a pet store that buys from dealers and puppy mills. People who do get their pets from pet stores will be receiving pets that are spayed and neutered," Executive Director Kathy Bice said. "Animals shelters are spaying, neutering, vaccinating and monitoring the health of their animals and taking responsibility for the pets they would place in a store."
Bice says 5,000 pets a year go through the doors of the two animal shelters in Brazos County and another 5,000 are out on the streets.
City staff is finalizing the recommendation for final approval from the council. The next meeting for City Council is May 27th.
If approved, LeUnes says, College Station could soon become the 8th City in Texas with a similar ordinance.