The Colony City Council is looking to prevent the same type of pet store issues that its neighboring city had earlier this year.
Tuesday the council discussed its options on regulating pet stores that sell animals. This comes after the Petland in Frisco was investigated by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) this past summer.
Between July and August, an HSUS member conducted their own hidden-camera investigation in the store and reported to the city alleged deficiencies in animal health, record keeping and veterinary care. HSUS described animals as too sick to eat or suffering from severe vomiting and diarrhea.
A Petland Inc. spokesperson said the HSUS member was employed in the store for six weeks and states the HSUS claims are “irresponsibly inaccurate and clearly uneducated.”
City Manager Troy Powell said news of the Petland investigation prompted city leaders to look at its own ordinances. While the city doesn't have a pet store that sells animals, it is allowed in certain zoning classes.
“If someone wanted to open a pet store tomorrow they could,” Powell said.
Joe Perez, director of community relations for The Colony, said some cities are looking to prohibit these businesses all together while others seek to simply regulate them.
Powell said the city has several options, including prohibiting the pet stores or regulating them with a specific use permit (SUP), which would outline certain conditions. Perez said the SUP could, among other things, allow for the city’s animal services division to have access to the animals for impromptu inspections.
Powell said there are other options for residents who want to buy an animal.
“There are plenty of dogs in this world,” Powell said. “But pet stores, especially locally lately, have had a real bad history on how they take care of these pets. We have hundreds of dogs in our shelter people can get, and they're great dogs.”
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem David Terre said the city needs to address the issue before a pet store comes in.
“This is not the type of facility we want coming to town, based on the research I've seen,” Terre said. “So I would encourage us to be like the way we were with the scooters and the electric bikes and be proactive and prevent this from happening to us and having headaches like Frisco has right now.”
Shannon Greer, president of the Friends of The Colony Animal Services, encouraged the city to address the ordinances before a pet store opens in The Colony.
“This store is looking to come here,” said Greer, who said she has boycotted 11 of those pet stores. “They want to come within a five-mile radius of Frisco … to be within their clientele. My concern is that's not what we want here.”
Perez said he’s not aware of a pet store submitting an application at this point.
Greer echoed Powell's statement that the animal shelter has enough adoptable animals, saying the shelter is under a “code red” in terms of capacity.
“This is not a hit against pet stores or businesses,” Greer said. “This is against any store that wants to come here and sell un-neutered, un-spayed animals and not take care of them properly.”
Some have argued animals that are not spayed or neutered are used for breeding and are treated poorly.
Greer suggested instead of a full ban on pet stores that the city enact a regulation that requires any animal that comes into the city to be sold or adopted must first be spayed or neutered.
Perez said the city staff will examine ordinances from neighboring cities and will present a proposal to the council at a future meeting.
Liz McGathey contributed to this report.