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New Texas law will close dog, cat breeding loophole

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LUBBOCK, Texas — A Texas law to close loopholes for large-scale commercial dog and cat breeding operations takes effect Sept. 1.

Current law defines a dog or cat breeder as someone who possesses 11 or more adult unspayed females and sells 20 or more puppies or kittens in a calendar year. However, this poses a few problems.

One problem is that 10 adult female dogs can give birth to up to 120 puppies per year, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).

Another problem is the increased potential for untraceable cash transactions, which then lead to large-scale breeding operations that lack proper regulation or oversight.

Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 876 into law on May 29. The law will require dog or cat breeders with five or more adult unspayed females to obtain a license to operate under the Texas Occupations Code.

Breeding dogs and cats will be considered a profession, so Texas breeders will be held to a higher standard.

Steven Greene, director of operations at Lubbock Animal Shelter, said he noticed issues with “backyard breeders.” One example of a backyard breeder is when someone has pets that are not spayed or neutered, and those pets accidentally breed with other animals.

However, Greene said it is also common for breeders to be “truly backyard and doing it for profit.”

It is illegal to sell animals on public property because if sickness arises, it is difficult to track down the seller. Greene said it is fine to sell out of your house.

According to Greene, a citation can be issued for the illegal breeding and sale of dogs and cats.
In a system that aims to prevent animal cruelty, the ALDF said it will bring requirements to be a dog or cat breeder in Texas closer to federal regulations under the Animal Welfare Act.

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