HOUSTON – The City of Houston Humane Pet Store Ordinance goes into effect on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

The ordinance requires pet stores that sell puppies to only obtain them from humane sources like animal shelters and private rescues. The law comes as pet stores come under increasing scrutiny for selling animals that come from puppy mills.

The Humane Society of the United States says its undercover video from a 2019 investigation in Frisco, Texas shows puppies inside a Petland store suffering mistreatment and rampant disease. These are conditions that animal advocates say are common in pet stores, when the animals come from puppy mills.

“The goal of the breeder is not to humanely care for the animals, it is to make a profit,” Tena Faust said. “So many times those animals are not healthy [and] they get sick later in life. It’s not good for the animals and it’s not good for the consumer.”

Lovie Langston says she bought a one-pound Maltese puppy from a Houston Petland store in 2021.

“One minute she would be fine, the next minute she would be lethargic,” Langston said. She “she was staggering, falling, very tired.”

His pet, little “Ziva,” was having regular seizures, he says, and was told by his vet that the pup had severely infected stitches due to a repaired hernia. Langston says he was never told about the dog’s medical history and demanded a refund. When that wasn’t allowed, he says he did everything he could to take care of Ziva at home. The dog ended up dying months later after another seizure.

Now, 18 months later, Langston says he’s still paying the thousands of dollars it cost to buy the puppy.

Langston says the new ordinance is a step in the right direction. Houston PetSet, which advocated for the change, says that with the conditions puppy mill animals have to endure, and with our local shelters having to euthanize healthy animals for space, it’s the right thing to do.

Houston now joins cities like Austin, San Antonio and Dallas in passing ordinances banning the sale of pets from puppy mills.

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