IN FRISCO, TEXAS, EDUCATION BRINGS PROGRESSIVE REGULATIONS
On January 21 the Frisco, Texas City Council voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance to strengthen pet store regulations in the city. What began as a polarizing debate about retail pet sales concluded with an education on what constitutes best practices in retail pet store management. Not only did Petland celebrate the new ordinance, John Goodwin, senior director Humane Society of the United States Puppy Mills Campaign (HSUS), stated, “The council’s action is a step forward.”
Josh Nie, general manager of Petland Frisco, supports the new regulations stating, “It’s basically a transparency ordinance. We have to effectively put in writing what we’ve always done. We’ve always done our due diligence when it comes to who we buy from and how we care for out pets. Now customers will see that on paper.”
Petland Frisco will be adding a full-time staff member to document all new paperwork requirements to guarantee compliance with the new ordinance.
The transparency requirements include posting sourcing on the windows of ferrets, bunnies, puppies and kittens; expanded health records to identify the amount of socialization time each puppy is receives; any medication that has been administered; and, every time the pet is seen by a veterinarian. The city is developing a checklist of documents the store must give to each puppy customer including a current statement on the pet’s health. Petland Frisco’s management welcomes these changes and will be meeting with city officials this month to ensure expectations for the new ordinance are clear.
The process began with a demand to ban all pet sales based upon an HSUS undercover investigation at Petland Frisco. HSUS alleged there were incidents of mistreatment and lack of proper veterinary care for some of the puppies. Petland denied these allegations by explaining every puppy is examined upon arriving at the store and a consulting veterinarian visits three times a week for any follow up checks. In response to the Humane Society’s allegations, the Frisco Police Department, which oversees animal services, did its own investigation. The department found record-keeping violations but no evidence of animal cruelty. Additionally, the officers’ unannounced visits since then have revealed no problems.
The additional record-keeping transparency is a progressive step for improved retail pet store management. Petland has a strong corporate culture of continuous professional education and is committed to implementing these new requirements. This ordinance also ensures that any new independently-managed pet store will follow the new regulations and operate their store with full transparency to the customers.
The development of the ordinance began with an adversarial all or nothing approach and concluded with a more educated city council, improved dialogue with enforcement officials and greater transparency on all aspects of pet care in the retail environment. The retail pet store remains the most regulated source for a new puppy and demand for pure bred puppies is increasing significantly every year. The Frisco City Council members should be commended for their willingness to hear all sides of the retail pet store issue. The result is an ordinance that will guarantee humane care of the companion animals and strong consumer protection regulations.