El Paso’s New Law to Stop the Breeding

By a vote of 6-1 on October 5, 2010, the El Paso City Council has approved several changes to its animal control and breeder regulation ordinances.

Find a copy of the new ordinance here. 

In the new ordinance the city blames for profit breeders and owners who fail to spay/neuter and control their pets for the numbers of animals dying in shelters.

So, under the new law, retail establishments like pet stores cannot make a profit on sales of dogs or cats under one year of age. The cost of sale or transfer is limited to $50 if the animal has not been spayed/neutered and $150 if the animal has been spayed/neutered and there is no record of expenses. Expenses for care can be recovered from a purchaser or transferee if there is documentation.

There are exceptions for animals held by retailers as of Dec. 31, 2010; breeders who do not advertise with in the city, and breeders that breed registered purebreds for exhibitions or competitions or animals that will be trained as service animals, or for search and rescue or other use by government agencies.

Puppies and kittens under 8 weeks of age cannot be sold or transferred except from the city animal shelter to an animal welfare organization or between animal welfare organizations.

The only authorized breeders are those permitted to breed "qualified animals", registered purebreds that are bred or placed for exhibitions or competitions, or animals that will be trained as service animals, or for search and rescue or other use by government agencies.

The breeder must submit information about its location, acreage or footage available for animals, number of animals and types of enclosures and compliance with zoning requirements and also breeding and registry of the animals. Breeders can be required to take a course about animal care and breeding. An inspection may be required to obtain the permit. Breeders’ ads must include the breeder permit number.

A litter permit must be obtained by anyone else who intentionally or unintentionally breeds a dog or cat. With a litter permit an owner can breed a dog or cat one time per year. The litter permit number must appear on all advertisements. 

All pet owners must register dogs, cats and ferrets, and obtain micro-chips and vaccinations against rabies for them.

The city already bans sales of animals along roadsides or in public areas, commercial parking lots or flea markets or festivals, and this ordinance extends that prohibition to animals sold for charitable fundraising. 

Animal welfare organizations already cannot operate without a permit and to qualify for a permit, they must also submit information about their location, acreage or footage available for animals, number of animals and types of enclosures and compliance with zoning requirements. Under the new provisions, the director of animal services could require them to take a basic course about the care of animals.

Under the new provisions, an animal welfare organization must also submit information about its organizational structure including a letter of good standing from the IRS if it operates as a 501c3 tax exempt charity. If the organization has not been permitted previously or worked as a "rescue partner" with the city, then it must submit a letter of recommendation from a veterinarian or an animal welfare organization that has a permit. The organization must complete a separate application advising how it will operate and hold animals and handle animals with behavior issues and medical or health issues, its adoption or placement programs, training for staff or volunteers, veterinary care, types of animals and number it will hold at one time, return  policy, and what work the organization will do to help abandoned, lost or recovered animals in the county. The organization must submit inspection reports from a veterinarian for all of the organization’s foster homes or if the organization is a shelter, the most recent inspection report from the state. On top of that, the animal services department can inspect initially and from time to time to determine "the appropriate status of the permit". 

Permits are now required for all animal establishments including shows, exhibitions, circuses, rodeos and the like.

The new ordinance increases enforcement by authorizing inspections and neighborhood canvassing. Pet stores or other retailers, breeders and animal welfare organizations must maintain records for 2 years.

There are also requirements for the city shelter to track intake, adoption or release, and euthanasia, registrations, micro-chipping, breeding permits and enforcement activities.

Any animal that cannot be adopted can be released to animal welfare organizations. Puppies and kittens as well as ill or injured animals can be transferred immediately upon impound to an animal welfare organization.

Baby turtles have been added to the list of baby animals that cannot be sold, traded or given away.