As the City of El Paso tries to deal with the pet over-population problem, the mayor suggests an idea that can radically impact some local businesses.
Mayor John Cook said pet stores such as Petland in East El Paso get their animals from puppy mills, where he said animals are kept in cruel conditions.
But Petland owner Mario Vasquez said the mayor needs to do his homework.
“Mayor, I think you and council have gone off the deep end and perhaps it’s time to determine if you are competent enough to continue serving in your post,” Vasquez told ABC-7.
The mayor’s suggestion to ban the sale of cats and dogs at all pet stores in the city caused some serious praise and criticism at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
“You need to see where they get their animals from,” Cook said. “They get them from deplorable conditions, called puppy mills, where a female dog is required to have eight, nine, 10 litters until she just dies, they end up in these pet shops, that takes away from their legitimacy.”
Vasquez disputes Cook’s statements.
“Our protocol states that we buy our puppies from USDA-licensed hobby breeders, so they have to be regulated by the federal government, and an agent of the federal government, usually a veterinarian, goes and inspects those premises,” Vasquez said.
It all started when the City Health Department suggested to City Council to adopt an ordinance that would require a permit number to advertise the sale of dogs and cats. But the mayor said that didn’t go far enough and questioned the integrity of pet stores.
“I don’t look at those as legitimate businesses,” Cook said. “People who are breeding pets in a kennel environment, in good condition, inspected by our Health Dept., I would call those legitimate businesses, but definitely not a puppy mill.”
Vasquez said he has employees who depend on the business for their livelihood as well.
City Council will take up the issue again in a few weeks when a new ordinance, with Cook’s suggestion, comes before them. They will also consider making all pet businesses spay and neuter an animal before they sell it.