Sherman adopts new animal regulations

Sherman is rolling out new updates to its animal control ordinances aimed at bringing the code up to modern standards and needs. Sherman City Council voted unanimously this week to approve the new updates among other animal control reforms.

The new 46-page animal control ordinance includes updated definitions as well as restrictions on new pet stores and breeders, among other reforms.

“We understand that there are companies that can operate effectively and efficiently while continuing the humane treatment of animals, and we want to make sure that we ensure that,” said SPD chief Zachary Flores.

The updates are one of the many changes that have been proposed to animal control since it was brought under the control of the Sherman Police Department last October. Police officials said one of the department’s first priorities was to modernize the ordinance, which was significantly outdated.

Earlier this month, police officials spoke to city council about the needs of the department, including updating the ordinance, amid ongoing struggles with overcrowding at the city shelter.

The new regulations make it illegal for someone to open or operate a pet store without first obtaining a license from the city. This will be grandfathered for the city’s three existing pet facilities, which are centered along the intersection of US Highways 75 and 82.

The ordinance will prohibit pet stores from selling prohibited animals, dogs and cats unless they were obtained from a government-owned animal shelter. This section will also be protected for existing stores. All animals for sale must also be sterilized and implanted with a registered microchip.

Similar licensing requirements are also in place for dog or cat breeders. To obtain a permit, a breeder must provide the address of the breeding place, as well as the number of animals that will be kept there. Animal control will also review the plans and designs of animal enclosures and other facility inspections for the site before issuing the permit.

Council member Shawn Teamann asked what this would mean for families looking to buy or adopt specific specialty breeds, including show dogs. Flores said the city is working to get to know the existing breeders in the area as the new requirements are implemented. However, the process shouldn’t be difficult for professional breeders.

The ordinance also includes definitions for exotic and prohibited animals, and requirements for dogs that have been found to be dangerous, among other new inclusions.