El Paso City Council to Consider Numerous Licensing & Breeder Restrictions on August 10th

The El Paso City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday August 10th to discuss possible changes...

The El Paso City Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday August 10th to discuss possible changes to the animal control code including differential license fees, breeder licensing and inspections, and a ban on sales of cats and dogs in pet stores. It is vital that responsible dog owners, breeders and fanciers oppose this legislation.

 

El Paso City Council Public Hearing
Tuesday, August 10th
8:30 am
Council Chambers, City Hall
2 Civic Center Plaza
El Paso, TX 79901

 

Key Provisions of the Ordinance (Click here for full text)

 

  • Establishes a differential license fee so owners of intact dogs will pay a higher fee
     
    • Allows fees to be set as part of the budget process instead of codified in law
       
      • This allows city officials to avoid taking a vote on the amount of the fees when they vote on the ordinance, and instead allows them to vote on all city fees at once. This makes elected officials less accountable and diminishes the input of constituents. 
         
  • Requires a dog be spayed/neutered on the second impoundment
     
    • These violations may occur years apart and not be indicative of an irresponsible dog owner.
       
  • Defines "competition dog" as "a dog that has been registered with a local, state or international club or organization that has been recognized by the director as a club or organization that maintains standards for breeds and/or health of dogs…or registered with a club or organization that holds or sponsors…competition dog shows, field trials or agility trials involving 50 or more animals at least once a year."
     
    • Allows the director of the department of public health to decide whether competition dogs or cats will pay the discounted registration fee
       
      • It is critical that fanciers and purebred dog owners understand that according to the ordinance the director MAY charge competition dogs the discounted fee – but it does not require it. If the intention is for all purebred dogs to be charged the discounted fee, then the ordinance needs to read "SHALL" instead of "MAY."
         
  • Adds Additional Requirements for Litter Permits
     
    • Requires that a breeder only breed "competition dogs or cats"  and register the litter with the club or organization prior to offering the animals for sale
       
    • The city adopted a requirement for litter permits in 2006 (AKC was not aware of this change at that time) and the fee was set at $75. These amendments will remove the fee and it will instead be set annually as part of the budget process.
       
  • Requires Breeder’s Permit and/or Breeder’s License
     
    • However, there is no definition for either of these terms and it is unclear what the requirements would be to obtain this permit
       
  • Authorizes the director to make all inspections necessary for the issuance of permits, but does not specify standards for inspections or inspectors
     
  • Prohibits pet stores from selling dogs or cats after September 1, 2010 except for those already in the store’s possession on that date
     
  • Creates a new section of law (Section 6) entitled "Animal Shows, Sales and Breeding" – however there is no language in this section so it is unclear what purpose it serves.

 

It should be noted that there are a variety of omissions and errors throughout this draft – from missing definitions to inconsistent terminology. Although these may seem like small problems, if this ordinance is enacted as drafted it could be detrimental for responsible owners and breeders when the ambiguities are used against them.

What You Can Do:

  • Attend the August 10th hearing and speak in opposition to this measure.