The only store in Dallas that sells puppies is challenging the city’s decision to ban the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores.
Petland Dallas owner Jay Suk said the new ordinance, which passed earlier this month, will force it to shut down.
On Tuesday, the North Dallas franchise company, D&J Pets, filed a lawsuit in Dallas County court, alleging the order discriminates against the store and violates the Texas Constitution. The company is seeking an injunction preventing the order from taking effect and more than $1 million in damages.
“The ban on the sale of pets irrationally discriminates only against Mr. Suk’s pet store, creating serious economic harm and further eliminating the safe, transparent and regulated sale of pets,” Petland said. in a press release.
The city said it could not comment on the ongoing litigation.
The order is expected to go into effect in November, authorizing a fine of up to $500 for violations. Dallas is the latest major city in Texas to adopt such regulations, joining five states and more than 400 localities, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Supporters say the ordinance will reduce support for puppy mills — places that breed female dogs at every opportunity and keep the animals in dirty little pens — and say federal regulations aren’t enough to stop the practice.
They also say the ban will protect customers from the emotional and financial cost of spending thousands of dollars on sick dogs, and instead drive people to rescue groups, small-scale breeders and animal shelters that are often filled beyond their capacity.
But the new lawsuit says the order would not serve the government’s interest in stopping the sale of pets to ‘substandard breeders’ because the store only buys from federally regulated breeders. having “high professional standards” consistent with national and local laws.
Sales of puppies and kittens account for more than 80% of owner Suk’s annual income, according to the lawsuit. In 13 years of operation, the store has sold over 15,000 dogs and cats to approximately 12,000 Dallas families. The store, which has 30 employees, also has contracts with its franchisor and customers that it says would be impaired.
The lawsuit also says the order prevents the store from competing with “inferior breeders” and does not specify where the puppies come from or how they are treated.
The order is “unreasonably onerous” because it will put the Dallas store out of business and “irrationally discriminate” against that store while allowing individuals to sell puppies regardless of how they are raised, according to the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, the store says it has repeatedly offered to discuss its operation with board members and is willing to talk about “common sense” regulations.
“Mr. Suk follows all federal, state and local laws in connecting pets with families forever,” Elizabeth Kunzelman, Petland’s vice president of government relations, said in a written statement. strong ally in the fight against puppy mills and animal cruelty and deserves to keep its doors open.”
Earlier this month, Suk’s company filed a libel suit against Lauren Loney, Texas state director for the Humane Society. He alleges she made misleading statements about the store and is seeking between $200,000 and $1 million in damages.
Mr Carrie Allan, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society, said the group feared the lawsuit was ‘just another attempt by companies that profit at the expense of puppies to silence animal advocates’.