The San Marcos City Council voted to refer an item regarding the sale of cats and dogs in the city to the council’s newly created animal services committee at its Tuesday night meeting.
Council held a discussion regarding amending Chapter 6 of the City of San Marcos Animal Code by amending and adding certain definitions to Section 6.001 and adding a new Section 6.065 to regulate the sale of cats and cats. dogs by pet shops, providing for a savings clause and providing for the repeal of any provision to the contrary.
Previously, there were many concerns and questions regarding the Pick A Pet store located in San Marcos malls and the source of the animals that are sold.
Many comments were made on this subject during the meeting’s citizen comment period.
“Opening Pick A Pet has been a dream come true and we would like to continue on this path,” said Johnathan Galvan, owner of Pick A Pet. “But we were heartbroken a few days ago when we found out that another bill in San Marcos would eventually put our store out of business.”
Organizations such as the Texas United for Pets and the Humane Society of the United States have spoken out to express the importance of prescription verbiage.
“This new ordinance won’t help solve pet overpopulation issues, but it will help create a black market in breeding and selling that cannot be regulated,” said Vanessa Gange of the National Animal Interest. Alliance. “There is an opportunity here to write a prescription that can actually improve animal welfare and responsible business practices instead of driving the business underground.”
Once the council entered into its discussion of the matter, council member Shane Scott shared that he had a problem with any businesses closing due to job creation. Scott also mentioned that when this item first came up, he suggested they work with the San Marcos Regional Animal Shelter to help with adoptions.
“I think shutting them down is insane and I think there should be a way to work to make it beneficial to the city in our animal control area,” Scott said.
Council member Mark Gleason also sought clarification on what can be considered a business when selling dogs and cats.
“I know we could look at this as a different situation, but these are unintended consequences here, aren’t they?” Gleason said. “I mean, for me, if I’m selling something, it could be considered a business. I mean, as far as the definition goes, if I make money, the feds consider it a business if I make more than a few hundred dollars and I have to pay taxes on it, so I have trouble with the verbiage on this.”
Councilman Maxfield Baker wanted to confirm previous allegations about the conditions and health of animals at Pick A Pet made during the Citizens’ Comment period, which Greg Carr, Director of Neighborhood Improvement, clarified.
“We had several inspections there and never found anything out of the ordinary,” Carr said. “Based on the complaints we’ve all received, the majority of the complaints are about where they source their pets from and they are licensed breeders.”
According to Carr, the animals appeared healthy and taken care of when they visited the pet store.
“This body has had multiple conversations about resistance to pre-existing laws or practices because they are inherently wrong and I think that’s one of those situations,” council member Alyssa Garza said. “We need to regulate this because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of the structures our government has tried to put in place for the protection of animal life.”
Garza also stressed the importance of the word to protect animals. Council member Jude Prather also expressed his appreciation for having the conversation and the importance of the topic.
Mayor Jane Hughson suggested referring the matter to the Board of Animal Services committee, consisting of herself, Garza and Scott. They would also work with county and community partners such as shelters and animal rights organizations.
“That kind of topic would be something really great for the committee that is forming so that we can root out a lot of these things and take feedback from both sides and come up with something that is more appropriate once it gets to the board,” Carr said.