It remains to be seen whether new rules adopted on April 27 relating to dog and cat breeders will impose new requirements on municipal animal shelters.  Last session, the legislature adopted the Dog or Cat Breeders Act (Act), found in Chapter 802 of the Texas Occupations Code.  The Texas Department of Licensing Regulation published proposed rules to implement the Act in January.  At that time, TML asked the department to clarify the definition of the term “dog or cat breeder.”  The department did not modify its rules in response to the request.   

The rules define the term “dog or cat breeder” as “[a] person who possesses 11 or more adult intact female animals and is engaged in the business of breeding those animals for direct or indirect sale or for exchange in return for consideration and who sells or exchanges, or offers to sell or exchange, not fewer than 20 animals in a calendar year.”  The term shouldn’t apply to a city animal shelter, which is not in the business of breeding animals.  However, TML asked the department to clarify this issue in its rules.  

The department responded that changes to the definition are beyond its authority through the rulemaking process.  The department went on to say that “commenters raise questions about whether the 11 adult intact female threshold applies to brokers, animal shelters, and rescue groups. Without knowing the specific operations model for the various groups, the [department] notes that the statute and rules contain specific criteria. If any of the listed groups trigger the requirements for licensing, then a license is required.” 

Does that mean that a city shelter in possession of 11 adult pregnant female dogs that offers the puppies for sale could be required to get a license under the Act?  It remains to be seen whether the department will try to apply the licensing requirement to a city animal shelter.

Information about the Act and the rules is available at

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