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The San Antonio City Council is scheduled to consider changes to the city’s animal ordinances at its meeting this Thursday, October 29, 2020.  The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9AM.

As previously reported, the ordinance seeks to further limit breeding and restrict pet stores to sourcing dogs and cats only from an animal rescue organization, an animal control agency, or a county animal shelter licensed by the city.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) opposes the concept of breeding permits, breeding bans, or mandatory spay/neuter of purebred dogs, specifically those based on the number of dogs owned or maintained.  AKC strongly opposes any measure that restricts choice by compelling people and/or retailers to obtain pets solely from shelter or rescue distributors.  Instead, we support reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who meet their responsibilities.

Click here to read AKC’s October 15 Action Alert on San Antonio.


  • According to the American Pet Product Association, approximately 44% of Americans obtained their pet from a retail rescue, traditional breed rescue, shelter, or similar source.  By comparison, only 4% of Americans obtained a pet from a traditional retail pet shop.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that approximately one million dogs are imported into the United States on an annual basis.  The vast majority of these dogs come with little valid health information, receive little regulatory or welfare oversight, and are likely destined for the large, unregulated U.S. retail rescue market.
  • As a strategy, national and international animal rights groups, which are ultimately interested in ending animal breeding and ownership, are advocating for communities to restrict the sources of the nation’s pets under the guise of “animal protection”.  The findings of the San Antonio ordinance specifically mention this ideology as serving as the basis of the proposal.  Instead, San Antonio should develop ordinances based in animal welfare.  Animal Welfare is pro-animal ownership. It recognizes the human/animal bond, recognizes the value of quality animal care and purposeful breeding, and supports advancing science to ensure the health and wellbeing of animals.
  • When people are forced obtain a pet that is not the right fit for their lifestyle, that pet is more likely to end up in a shelter. We believe a better approach is to keep pets out of shelters in the first place. Instead of pet shop bans, one of the best ways to keep pets out of shelters is by educating prospective dog owners and enabling them to obtain a pet that is the right fit for their lifestyle. Great pets come from a variety of sources, including breeders, responsible rescues, and regulated pet shops and shelters. But in every case, freedom of choice to select the right pet is the crucial first step to success.
  • The American Kennel Club recommends requiring pet shops to adhere to appropriate care standards and prohibiting them from purchasing animals from any breeder that has been found to have committed a direct violation of USDA animal welfare regulations or three or more indirect violations of USDA regulations related to the health or welfare of an animal in the last two years and/or violations of Texas’ Dog or Cat Breeders Act. Such safeguards not only protect animal welfare but also preserve consumer choice and businesses in our communities.


  • New inquiries into the possible risks associated with spay/neuter have been made by the veterinary medical community.  Some have found that sterilized dogs of both sexes have significantly higher risks of certain cancers, joint disorders, urinary incontinence, and reduced longevity.  Male sterilized dogs have been found to have higher risks of atopic dermatitis, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, hypoadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, immune-related thrombocytopenia, and inflammatory bowel disease than intact dogs; while sterilized female dogs have an even greater risk than neutered males for almost all immune diseases. Further, sterilized females may have a significantly greater risk of lupus erythematosus than intact females.
  • The importance of sex hormones on canine immune function cannot be understated. While sterilization procedures may provide some social value, including population control and convenience for owners, gonadectomy, like other major surgical procedures, should not be entered into without consideration of long-term health impacts and never be arbitrarily mandated by a government entity. For these reasons, we believe the current sanction for an individual’s noncompliance with the city’s seller permit requirements are preferable to onerously mandating sterilization without due consideration to animal health.


Concerned San Antonio-area residents are strongly encouraged to contact the City Council to respectfully request that the ordinance not be approved.

Click here to submit comments online. Please note that these comments will be readable by the public.

Mayor Nirenberg and City Council members may also be reached individually:

Mayor Ron Nirenberg
Phone: 210-207-7107

Councilman Roberto C. Treviño (District 1)
Phone: 210-207-7279

Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan (District 2)
Phone: 210-207-7278

Councilwoman Rebecca J. Viagran (District 3)
Phone: 210-207-7064

Councilwoman Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia
Phone: 210-207-7281

Councilwoman Shirley Gonzalez
Phone: 210-207-7043

Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda
Phone: 210-207-7065

Councilwoman Ana Sandoval
Phone: 210-207-7044

Councilman Manny Peláez
Phone: 210-207-7086

Councilman John Courage (District 9)
Phone: 210-207-7325

Councilman Clayton Perry (District 10)
Phone: 210-207-7276

AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will continue to monitor developments in San Antonio, and will report additional information as they warrant.  For more information, contact AKC GR at