The council unanimously passed the revised ordinance despite the objection of a number of residents who spoke against it.
“The focus has been to do what we can with the ordinance that exists—to improve it so that the regulation of the sale of animals is improved,” Deputy City Manager Henry J. Hill said to the council during a work session before the regular meeting.
Hill said the ordinance provides for potential purchasers of an animal to get the kind of information they would need to make an intelligent choice about that purchase, including where the animal came from, how it got to Frisco and what has happened to it in the store.
The ordinance includes provisions that carry criminal and civil penalties, or could result in the permit to sell animals being suspended or revoked, if violated. Under the revised ordinance, pet store permits will be issued by the Frisco Police Department, and the chief of police will designate an animal services officer to enforce the provisions of the ordinance.
Staff initially presented a draft of the updated ordinance to the council at a Dec. 3 work session, but the Jan. 21 meeting was the first vote on it. Numerous residents have called on Frisco to update its animal ordinance following an investigation last year by the Humane Society of the United States into the Frisco Petland location, which accused the store of animal mistreatment.
Sixteen citizens expressed their opinions on the ordinance to the council, with the majority of them expressing disappointment with the scope of the revisions, though several spoke in support of the city’s plan. One of the most common suggestions from those who spoke against the ordinance was about a need for a local rescue and adoption center.
Rebecca Whitehouse was one of nine citizens who spoke in opposition of the ordinance.
“Rules on paper are only as good as the enforcement that's behind them,” Whitehouse said. “What's missing in this ordinance is a commitment to ensure that the problems that these citizens have been bringing to you—if these problems continue there will be penalties and there will indeed be consequences.”
Petland General Manager Josh Nie spoke in support of the ordinance, stating he “looks forward to working with the city” to be in full compliance.
“We all know this has been such a huge item because we all love animals,” Nie said. “At the end of the day, we’re here because of that; that drives us every day.”
The ordinance will also prohibit the sale of animals born outside the U.S. and require information on the earliest known origin of dogs and cats be provided to purchasers. It also modifies or sets requirements on pet stores in the areas of care and feeding; housing; sanitation; veterinary treatment; and record keeping on the acquisition, transportation and status of the animal while in the pet store.
“While we haven’t been able to adopt all of the suggestions and changes that came from the various animal interest groups that came to you,” Hill said to the council during the work session, “we adopted a lot of them, and the ordinance is better for being able to put those provisions in there.”