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This comes after the city council voted to restrict sales to tackle the ongoing issue of pet overpopulation.
"This ordinance will help drive the pet market toward more humane sources and encourage pet stores to be part of the pet overpopulation solution," said Katie Jarl Coyle, Southwest regional director for the Humane Society of the United States to the San Antonio Express News. The new law will also apply to future pet stores opening.
There are 51 pet stores within the city's limits, and only three of them are permitted to sell purebred dogs and cats. The city has had to find an urgent way to address its severe problem with stray cats and dogs after the dead bodies of thousands of animals had to be removed from the streets.
The new rules were to take effect in July 2021, but District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran moved to make date effective from New Year's Day. The date was brought forward by six months after 17,000 cat and dog carcasses were removed from the streets between October 2019 and September 2020.
During this period of economic uncertainty and national lockdowns during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the aim of the new law is to reduce the numbers of abandoned pets by owners who are no longer able to afford a pet's upkeep. The law will also aim to reduce the numbers of people using their pets to breed and sell puppies and kittens to make extra cash.
In addition to those factors, the Christmas season is fast approaching - with pet kittens and puppies making popular presents. However, many animals end up being abandoned.
The local news site also explored the life of a stray dog in the city in which an ACS officer drove around a neighbourhood where there had been multiple reports of strays on the loose. Many of those dogs roamed the streets and overgrown areas of San Antonio, and were feral and semi-domesticated. There were reports of them attacking pets in the area.
The motion to only allow pet stores to sell rescue animals was put into action with just a few members of the council in opposition. One person who didn't back the plan, Shirley Gonzales, said: "I just don't see how the ordinance really gets to the source of the problems that we have here in San Antonio.
"We know we have overpopulation, there's no doubt. We know that we have problems with loose dogs... We have a severe problem with pet ownership responsibility."
San Antonio residents will still be able to buy purebred dogs and cats from private licensed breeders. Under the changes, which were approved Thursday, 29 October, all dogs and cats sold by pet stores must be sterilised, microchipped and immunised.