Today, the Texas Senate Business and Commerce Committee adopted a substitute to House Bill 1818.
Originally and as passed by the Texas House, HB 1818 would have limited the sources of dogs and cats sold by certain Texas pet stores to only those sourced from animal control agencies, animal shelters, and animal rescue organizations. The American Kennel Club (AKC) strongly opposed that version of HB 1818.
The substitute adopted by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee today provides that pet stores may also source dogs and cats from qualified breeders. Qualified breeders are either:
(1) Texas breeders licensed under the state’s Dog or Cat Breeders Act (Act).
(2) breeders located in other states that meet the standards for breeders under the Act; hold a license in the state they are located (if required); and hold an appropriate license, or be exempt from licensing, by the USDA under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
Additionally, the substitute would require pet stores to obtain certain assurances from qualified breeders, including care certifications and proof of licensure. Pet stores would also be restricted from obtaining dogs or cats from a qualified breeder if during the preceding four years the breeder’s AWA inspection reports contain a direct or critical violation, a direct no-access violation, or at least three indirect or non-critical violations related to the health and welfare of an animal (not administrative).
The committee substitute also requires pet stores to maintain certain records and make them available for inspection by an animal control agency or other governmental entity, and to post public signage on the enclosure of each dog or cat for sale that displays the name of the source of the animal.
Pets stores that violate requirements would be subject to civil penalties of up to $500 for each dog or cat sold.
AKC and other allied organizations have actively advocated for a more reasonable approach to address the operation of pet stores than HB 1818’s severe provisions, as originally proposed and as passed by the Texas House. AKC believes that the committee substitute adopted today is reasonable, and will better ensure that dogs and cats sold by Texas pet stores are sourced humanely and treated appropriately.
WHAT’S NEXT: The new version of HB 1818 is expected to be finally voted on by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee at its next meeting, which his expected to be held on Thursday, May 20, 2021. It is imperative that Texas breeders and owners contact the members of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee and respectfully urge “support of Committee Substitute House Bill 1818”.
If approved, the bill will then be sent to the full Senate for a vote.
AKC Government Relations (GR) will continue to provide updates to HB 1818 as developments warrant. For more information on HB 1818 or any other pending Texas legislation, contact AKC GR at email@example.com.